The external trade balance statistics for May show a one-off, in our view, jump in the trade surplus mainly on the back of very low imports growth. The latter was expected (given preliminary non-CIS imports data) and could be linked to very negative calendar factor in May, that distorted economic data across-the-board. Hence we suggest that May’s tick up in trade surplus is temporal and expect its normalization in June.
In the next couple of months Russia’s trade balance is likely to remain supported by weak import dynamics, but situation will change as soon as expected monetary policy easing will support internal demand. But for the rest of 3Q13, import of services (especially, travel) will remain key factor determining weakening current account situation.