The surplus in trade with goods and services declined to USD64m in March compared to USD117m in the same period of last year, according to figures published by the central bank on Monday. The outcome is similar to February’s surplus of USD50m. Exports shrank by 3% y/y in March as a result of 3.5% y/y decline in merchandise exports. Imports were also down by a moderate 1.6% y/y as merchandise imports fell by 1.8% y/y. The overall trade surplus has reached USD433m in Q1, above the USD373m registered last year due to the exceptionally strong performance in January.
Looking forward, we expect export performance to remain sluggish due to the new restrictions imposed by Russia, the tax maneuver and the oil contamination in the Druzhba pipeline, while imports should continue to recover on the back of growing household incomes, thus pushing the trade balance into deficit.