Year-on-year, exports fell 19.9 percent (-30.5 percent in the previous month) to USD 29.16 billion. Imports shrank 35.4 percent (-40.7 percent in January) to USD 15.6 billion.
Exports have been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2014 due to the ruble depreciation – the currency lost more than 80 percent against the USD last year. However, it gained more than 12 percent against the greenback since the beginning of 2015, as high-yield assets are attracting investors. In December last year, the central bank increased the benchmark interest rate to 17 percent to limit ruble depreciation but has since lowered it twice, now standing at 14 percent.
From January to February, exports rose a non-seasonally adjusted 6 percent while imports surged 25 percent.