Beijing’s trade with Moscow has continued to grow, with both exports and imports rising significantly in March in annual terms, Chinese customs data shows.
According to a report published on Thursday, Chinese exports to Russia soared by 136% year-on-year, while imports from the country jumped by 40.5%.
Read more: Saudi Arabia makes move towards Russia-China bloc
Overall exports of Chinese cars, steel, clothing and plastics to Russia and other countries rose strongly in March. Statistics also showed that Beijing’s coal purchases from abroad more than doubled last month, hitting a three-year high. Oil imports increased by 22.5%, iron ore by 14.8%, and soybeans by 7.9%.
China’s trade with Russia hit a record high in 2022, growing by nearly a third amid Western sanctions against Moscow. Bilateral trade is on track to reach $200 billion this year, according to first quarter results published earlier this month.
Read more: Pentagon begins redeployment to deter Russia and China – WSJ
Official statistics show that Russia was the leader among China’s 20 largest partners in terms of trade growth in 2022. China has been competing with India as Russia’s biggest buyer of oil, and has overtaken the EU as the top importer of Russian agricultural products.
Beijing’s seaborne imports of Russian oil have been hitting record highs as refiners take advantage of cheap prices amid a domestic fuel demand rebound, following the lifting of Covid restrictions.