Government of India, India, Petrol, Stories, Trade

Data: Oil Imports From Russia in The First Nine Months of 2022-23 Are More Than 9 Times The Imports in Whole Of 2021-22


India’s oil imports from Russia have witnessed an exponential increase in the wake of discounts offered by Russia. Data indicates that the overall imports from Russia in the first nine months of 2022-23 are already more than the thrice the value in the whole of 2021-22. In the case of petroleum products, this is more than 9 times. 

In India’s 75 years as a modern independent nation, Russia (the erstwhile Soviet Union ) has consistently been its key strategic ally as well as an important partner that spreads across a wide range of sectors from food products to defence.

The developments on the international scene over the past few years have seen changes to the geopolitical and trade dynamics among countries. While the COVID-19 pandemic affected production and supply chains, with a cascading impact on trends in international trade, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has also upended global trade.  

In this context, we look at the numbers related to the India-Russia trade and analyse any impact of the ongoing events. The data for the story is from Factly’s Dataful, which in turn is sourced from the Department of Commerce’s Export Import Databank

Imports during first three quarters of 2022-23 already three times the imports during 2021-22

Prior to 2020-21, the trends in trade with Russia have been fluctuating. In the case of imports, an increase in the value of imports in a year was followed by a fall in the subsequent years. This inconsistent trend is also seen in the case of India’s exports to Russia. But the value of imports has always exceeded the value of exports, thereby resulting in a trade deficit. While the trend remained inconsistent, it can be said that the trade deficit has widened if we consider the period 2006-07 to 2020-21. 

During 2021-22, the value of imports from Russia increased to $ 9.9 billion compared to $ 5.48 billion in 2020-21. This is the greatest value of imports if the data from 2006-07 is considered. The previous highest was in 2017-18, wherein the value of imports from Russia was $8.5 billion. The increasing trend continued into 2022-23 and there is an exponential increase in the value of imports during the year. 

During the first 9 months of 2022-23 i.e. during April-December 2022, the total value of imports is $ 32.82 billion. With another quarter of the fiscal year to go, the value of imports so far is already more than three times the value of the previous year. Comparatively, the overall imports of India during the first three quarters are about 90% of the imports of the total fiscal 2021-22. To put in perspective in terms of the share of India’s overall imports, the share of imports from Russia was 1.6% of India’s total imports during 2021-22, which is at nearly 6% during the three quarters of 2022-23. On the other hand, the value of exports has largely remained unchanged. This has contributed to a gaping a trade deficit. By the end of December 2022, the trade deficit is valued at $ 30.6 billion. This is 4.5 times the deficit in 2021-22, with a quarter of a year still to go. 

The increase in Imports from Russia is largely due to Petroleum Oils & Crude  

Out of the total $ 32.8 billion imports from Russia during the first three quarters of 2022-23, $ 27.2 billion is under HS Code 0027 i.e. “Mineral Fuels, Mineral Oils, Bituminous substances, etc.” More specifically,  the major share under this category is the imports of “Petroleum Oils & Crude” (HSC 2709) at $ 21.79 billion. 

In 2021-22, the total value of Petroleum Oils & Crude imported from Russia was $ 2.47 billion i.e. the import during April-December of 2022-23 is nearly 10 times of last year.  This category makes up nearly 2/3rds of the total imports from Russia during April-December of the current fiscal 2022-23. In 2021-22, Petroleum oils & Crude formed around 25% of the total imports from Russia. Comparatively, in 2020-21, it was around 17%. Hence, the exponential increase in the value of imports from Russia during 2022-23 so far,  can be attributed largely due to the increase in import of Petroleum Oils and Crude. This is understandable as Russia has provided discounts on its oil in the wake of sanctions from western countries. 

Russia’s share in Total Crude oil Import increased by 8 times during 2022-23 

While the increase in Import of Petroleum Oils & Crude from Russia has multiplied by nearly 10 times during 2022-23, the overall increase of India’s import of this product category is only about 4%. Therefore, the increase in imports from Russia was not due to an increase in overall requirements but was at the cost of other countries, due to the discounts offered by Russia. 

Prior to 2021-22, Russia was not among the Top-10 countries from where India imported Crude. In 2021-22, Russia is ranked 9th. So far, during the first three quarters of 2022-23, Russia is placed 3rd behind Iraq & Saudi Arabia in terms of India’s crude imports. 

Data indicates that imports from multiple other countries were reduced, as this reduction is compensated by imports from Russia. Russia’s share in the Petroleum Crude import increased from around 2% in 2021-22 to 17% in 2022-23 (April-December). 

Among the top countries, the imports from Saudi Arabia and UAE were largely unaffected. 

Iraq, the leading supplier of Petroleum Crude to India continues in its position but has seen a fall in value. However, it ought to be noted that the data for 2022-23 is for 9 months compared to the full year of 2021-22. In terms of share, Iraq’s share fell from around 25% to 21%. USA’s share fell from 9.2% to 6.5%. 

Among the leading countries, the fall in share can also be observed for Nigeria, Kuwait, Oman, etc. Beyond Top-10 countries, the other countries whose share of imports for petroleum fell include Brazil, Columbia, Egypt, Gabon, etc. 

Cheaper Petroleum Crude from Russia is cited as a major reason for the increase in imports. However, India does continue its heavy reliance on Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia & UAE. As of now, the import from Russia seems to be at the cost of imports from most of the African and American (North & South) countries.  

The Import of other products largely remain same, so also the trends in exports 

In an earlier story, we analysed the trends in imports from Russia. Prior to 2022-23, the major imports from Russia included –Unworked Diamonds, Pulverised Coal, Sunflower oil, etc, among others. The trends relating to these product categories largely remain unchanged. Apart from Petroleum Crude, two other product categories that are part of HS 0027, have a substantial increase in the imports. This includes – Non-crude petroleum products and Coal Briquettes. This steep increase in imports has resulted in a widening trade deficit. 


About Author

HR professional, now focused on contributing towards a positive change in the society. Passionate reader. Loves writing and photography and to narrate stories through words and pictures.

Comments are closed.