Posted 21 марта 2023,, 14:20

Published 21 марта 2023,, 14:20

Modified 21 марта 2023,, 14:50

Updated 21 марта 2023,, 14:50

Russia-China: economic equality is still very far away

Russia-China: economic equality is still very far away

21 марта 2023, 14:20
Analysts note that if China is the most important partner for Russia in economic terms, then for China Russia remains only a supplier of energy resources and a small consumer of finished products.

The media and social networks continue to discuss one of the main world news – the visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Moscow. Moreover, almost unanimously, everyone notes that, although it took place against the background of a publicly expressed full agreement on foreign policy and the world order, equality between Russia and China is still far away in the economic sphere.

Yes, China made a pronounced turn towards Russian energy resources at the beginning of 2023, so that by the end of January Russia became the largest supplier of natural gas to China, overtaking both Turkmenistan and Qatar. In just one month, Russia supplied 2.7 billion cubic meters to China – of which 2 billion cubic meters fell on the "Power of Siberia". In general, over the past year, Russia has increased gas exports to China by 49% to 15.5 billion cubic meters of gas.

At the same time, as the "Kremlin Mammologist" notes, it is not necessary to talk about China's dependence on Russia in the gas sector. The Chinese authorities have diversified supplies well. Russia accounts for only 23.9% of January gas supplies.

The situation is similar with oil: according to the results of January-February 2023, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia. In two months, China received 15.68 million tons from Russia – 23.8% more than in the same period last year. But there is no overwhelming superiority of Russia here either: domestic oil companies occupy 21.5% of the Chinese oil market. And the competition now consists not only of such traditional suppliers as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, but also Brazil, which increased supplies to China by 64% to 6.3 million tons over the year.

In the structure of Russia's exports, by the end of 2022, China accounted for up to 20% against 14% in 2021, but it is almost entirely energy resources. They account for up to 90% of exports. The remainder is accounted for by food and nutrition. This situation will continue for a long time: the world's first full-cycle onshore grain terminal has been built in Transbaikalia, which has become part of the Russia-China grain corridor. The annual volume of transshipment can be up to 8 million tons. Oil, gas and grain from Russia account for about 3.2% of China's total imports. They do not play a significant role in the trade balance.

But for Russia, China is the most important partner. Last year, China provided about 30% of all foreign supplies to Russia (for China, Russia provides about 2% of exports). But this is exactly the delivery of finished products. Financial and technological investments show negative dynamics. The Financial Times points out that China's financing and investment in Russia within the framework of the "One Belt, One Road" project decreased to zero in the first half of 2022. And the South China Morning Post reports that "no large-scale investments from China are expected." In particular, because of anti-Russian sanctions. In economic terms, Russia remains for China only a supplier of energy resources and a small consumer of finished products.