Russia’s current account surplus jumps to $23bn in January-March

Russia’s current account surplus jumps to $23bn in January-March
Russia’s current account surplus jumps to $23bn in the first quarter of 2017.
By bne IntelliNews April 13, 2017

Russia’s balance of payments statistics for the first quarter of 2017 exceeded analysts’ expectations with the surplus jumping to $22.8bn, according to a central bank data release on April 11, well ahead of an Alfa Bank forecast of $17bn.

“In a positive sign, there was significant export growth in both the oil and non-oil segments – non-oil exports increased by 17.8% y/y (or $5bn) versus a 9.4% y/y decrease in 2016,” Alfa Bank’s Natalia Orlova said in a note. “However, on a negative note, import growth accelerated from 5.6% y/y in the third quarter of 2016 and 8.5% y/y in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 24.9% y/y in the first quarter of 2017, which poses a threat to further current account strength.”

The capital account was also negative: the net capital outflows accelerated to $15.4bn in the first quarter of 2017 compared with $16.1bn in 2016.

“This is surprising given the foreign capital inflows to the local market. Therefore, despite the better-than-expected current account figures, we believe the ruble rate could return to its fundamental RUB60-65/$range later this year, as the current strength is not a sustainable trend,” said Orlova.

 

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