Trade between China and Russia surged to a level unseen since the start of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, according to official figures, as Beijing increases its aid to its ally under siege from sanctions.
Last month, trade between the two nations totalled $20.5 billion, as disclosed by Beijing’s data, with Russian imports contributing $11.3 billion to this figure.
While there was no official itemized analysis of these numbers, they did highlight a decline in Chinese exports for the first time since February, breaking a two-month rising trend post the relaxation of zero-Covid regulations.
Factors such as soaring worldwide inflation, the looming threat of a recession in other parts of the world, and geopolitical frictions with the United States have reduced the demand for Chinese goods.
Chinese exports in May fell by 7.5% compared to the previous year and imports decreased by 4.5%, indicating that the economic recovery post the lifting of virus-related restrictions is decelerating, due to weakened global demand caused by increasing interest rates.
However, China’s commerce with Russia presented a bright spot in Beijing’s otherwise gloomy trade picture.
China is Russia’s biggest trading partner, with trade between the two hitting a historic high of $190 billion last year as per the data from Chinese customs.
At a summit held in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to elevate their trade to $200 billion this year, praising their unrestricted alliance.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak reported last month that Russian energy supplies to China are projected to rise by 40% this year.
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