04/20/2022, 14.31
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War in Ukraine: Asian exports to Russia collapse

Exports from Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Vietnam are way down. Western sanctions against Russia weigh heavily. Conversely, imports from Russia are up, mainly because of higher gas, oil and grain prices. The same goes for China.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The war in Ukraine has dramatically reduced Asian exports to Russia, a situation that goes beyond the countries that have signed up to Western sanctions against Moscow.

According to Nikkei Asia, sanctions and some logistical problems are driving down Asian sales to Russia.

Japan’s Ministry of Finance today reported that the value of Japanese exports to Russia in March fell by 31.5 per cent in one year, while total exports jumped by 14.7 per cent.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan imposed punitive measures, including a ban on the sale of semiconductors and other high-tech products to Russia.

Singapore also adopted sanctions against Russia, blocking the transfer of military equipment and high-tech assets to Russia and freezing Russian assets held in its banks. As a result, exports to Russia fell by more than 85 per cent last month.

The same goes for two other US allies in the Western Pacific: South Korea and Taiwan. South Korean exports to Russia dropped by 55.6 per cent in March, roughly the same as Taiwan’s.

Vietnam also reported an 84 per cent decline in exports to Russia with whom it has always had close ties.

Although Indonesia has been careful not to take sides on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it too saw its Russia-bound exports drop by about 50 per cent.

Conversely, while direct exports to Russia are way down, the same cannot be said about imports. Japan’s have increased by 89.6 per cent.

Notwithstanding the impossibility of quickly replacing Russian energy supplies, analysts note that the real factor in rising Asian imports from Russia is the soaring cost of oil, gas and wheat.

High energy prices also explain higher Chinese imports from Russia (+26.4 per cent in March). However, the growth of trade between Beijing and Moscow is slowing down.

Last month Sino-Russian trade rose by 12.8 per cent year-on-year, about half that of February (25.7 per cent), when Vladimir Putin launched his military attack against Ukraine.

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