Russia’s Place in the World Trade in 2009

In late March 2010 the WTO Secretariat published its analytical review of the international trade for the year of 2009 and presented outlooks for 2010. The document comprises preliminary cross-country statistics by the 2009 global trade with goods and services.


With the 2009 global GDP down by 2.3%, the WTO analysts estimate the fall in the global trade to stand at 12.2% in real terms (the deepest downturn over the past seven decades) vis-à-vis its 2.0% increase in 2008. Driven primarily by the downfall in prices for energy sources and minerals, the volume of turnover of goods tumbled by 23% in nominal terms,. Meanwhile, export of goods plunged by 15% in nominal terms and accounted for USD 12.2trln, while the fall in export of services made up 13% and hit 3.3trln.

The WTO experts forecast a 9.5% growth in the volume of international trade in 2010. The reverse can be explained by the global economy getting out of the crisis.

China topped the list of global exporters of goods (USD 1,202bn), thus outpacing Germany (1,121bn.) and the US (1,052 bn.); meanwhile, the US retains its position of the leading importing nation (1,604bn), followed by China (1,006bn), which left Germany (931bn) behind.

According to the WTO data, in 2009 Russia’s decline of foreign trade was the most intense compared with other biggest trading nations and that affected its position in the WTO rating. Specifically, according to preliminary data, Russia sank by 4 lines therein and won just the 13th position by value volume of its exports that account for USD 304bn. That said, Russia’s annual increase rates in nominal terms fell by 36%. The nation’s specific weight in the global export was 2.4% (vs. 2.9% in 2009). So long as the value of import of goods is concerned (USD 192bn and the increase rate – 34%), Russia was ranked the 17th, while its proportion in the aggregate global import slid to 1.5% (vs. the 16th position and 1.8% in 2008).

Without regard to the EU countries’ intraregional and mutual trade, Russia is number 8 in terms of export of goods; it also is number 11 worldwide in terms of import (its 2008 rankings were the 5th and the 10th, respectively).

As for the 2009 rating of nations by their capacity as suppliers of commercial services, Russia retained its 22th position (USD 42bn, down by 17%), while its specific weight remained at the level of 1.3%. Russia also keeps holding the 16th position in the sphere of import of commercial services (USD 60bn., down by 19%), while its specific weight slid to 1.9% from 2.2% reported in 2008.  

A. Pakhomov, Director of the Center for International Trade Studies, ANE
N. Volovik, Head of Department for Foreign Trade, IET