China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time in five months in July

BEIJING: Chinese exports to Russia snapped four months of declines and grew robustly in July, while Russian shipments to China also held up well, official customs data showed.

Shipments to sanctions-hit Russia rose 22.2% in July from a year earlier in dollar terms, shaking off the decline of 17% in June and marking the first growth since March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Sunday.

Imports growth from Russia sustained an elevated pace at 49.3% in July, though slower than a 56% gain in June and a 79.6% rise in May.

Russia is a major source of oil, gas, coal and agricultural commodities for China.

Amid the ongoing Ukraine war, Russia was China’s biggest oil supplier in May and June as Chinese buyers cashed in on lower-priced supplies.

However, oil supplies loaded from the Russian ports to the China dropped to 21.3 million barrels in July, the lowest since February. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, an intervention Moscow describes as a “special military operation”.

China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions and has criticized the sweeping Western sanctions on Moscow.

Beijing also says that it has not provided military assistance to Russia or Ukraine, but that it would take “necessary measures” to protect the rights of its companies.