Portugal paid 45% more for Russian imports in March

11-05-2022

The rise in the price of energy goods should explain the increase in the value imported by Portugal from Russia. As for Ukraine, there was a reduction in both exports and imports.

The trade relationship between Portugal and Ukraine, as well as with Russia, was affected by the Russian invasion in Ukraine that began on February 24. First of all, Portuguese companies decreased their sales of domestic goods to these two markets in March of this year, the first full month of war between the two countries. In domestic imports, there is a divergence: Portugal paid more to buy from Russia, which may be related to the rise in energy prices, but less from Ukraine, which should be related to the difficulty of moving products in the middle of the military conflict.

Data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) to ECO show that Portugal imported 152.9 million euros of Russian products in March 2022, up from 105.7 million euros imported in March 2019, before the pandemic - this figure represents a 45% increase compared to the pre-Covid-19 value. But the statistical series shows that this upward trend has been going on since September, with the rise in energy prices, now reinforced by the effects of the war.

Moreover, these data are not deflated, i.e., the numbers reflect not only the increase in the quantity imported but also the price variation. That is, this increase may have happened even if the quantity imported is smaller - it was not possible to clarify this point with the statistics office.

The export of Portuguese goods to Russia suffered a significant drop - something that not even the pandemic had caused - to 3.3 million euros, which compares with 15 million euros in March 2019. This abrupt drop in exports to Russian territory may be related to the sanctions agreed at the European Union level against Russia to isolate and punish the Kremlin for the invasion of Ukraine.

Portugal imports more from Russia, but exports less

With Ukraine, it is a different story. The figures show that both exports and imports have dropped significantly. Portugal bought only 9.15 million euros of Ukrainian goods, which compared to 36.7 million euros in March 2019. Portuguese companies exported only €413,000 to Ukrainian territory, which compares with €1.95 million in March 2021.

This reduction in trade between Ukraine and Portugal should be explained by the difficulty of moving goods out of Ukrainian territory because of the armed conflict against Russian troops, either by the Black Sea (which is controlled by Russian forces) or by other routes. In addition, Ukraine needs certain resources to sustain its population and army during the war.

Trade between Portugal and Ukraine plummets because of war.

It should be noted that neither Ukraine nor Russia are among Portugal's main trading partners. Russia was once one of the main suppliers of the Portuguese economy, but lost its position in the top 10 in 2020 because of the reduction in the price of mineral fuels - currently the opposite is true, but it remains outside the top. Portugal exports mainly agricultural products, wood and cork, and food products to Russia.

Ukraine, on the other hand, was the 68th customer of Portuguese exports of goods in 2020, with a share of 0.1% in the total, ranking 35th in terms of imports (0.3%). Ukraine sells Portugal mainly agricultural products, base metals, and machinery and appliances. Portugal sells mainly machinery and appliances, wood and cork, and food products to Ukraine.