Both countries saw indicators grow to record highs last year on soaring exports © Getty Images / John Lamb

China and Russia became the world leaders in trade surplus last year, according to calculations by RIA Novosti based on data from the national statistical services of both countries. A trade surplus is an indicator of a positive balance of trade, where a country’s exports exceed its imports. Traditionally, by showing that local currency and resource inflow exceeds outflow, a surplus serves as an indicator of a healthy economy.

Both countries broke their own records in 2022, with China’s trade surplus surging 30% to an all-time high of $877.6 billion. The country exported approximately $3.59 trillion worth of goods, a growth in export value of about 7% compared to the previous year. Imports, meanwhile, grew by only 1.1%, to roughly $2.72 trillion.

Russia increased its surplus 1.7 times over the year to a record $333.4 billion, claiming the second place among major economies. The country’s total exports reached $591.4 billion, up 19.9% from 2021. The surge was driven by the rise in energy sales, which made up the bulk of Russia’s foreign exports and reached $383.73 billion, a 42.8% year-on-year increase. Imports, however, slid 11.7% against the previous year to $259.1 billion. Analysts attribute the drop in imports to Western sanctions on Russia, combined with Moscow’s efforts toward self-sufficiency and import substitution measures.

Saudi Arabia, which posted its highest trade surplus since 2012 at $221.3 billion, ranked third, followed by Norway, Australia and Qatar.

Germany saw its figure drop 2.4 times to $85.34 billion, slipping to the seventh spot from the second place a year earlier.

Russia’s trade surplus hits record high Russia’s trade surplus hits record high

Canada, meanwhile, became the absolute leader in terms of growth, with its number jumping 4.8 times throughout the year, to $17.45 billion. According to the data, the only country that was able to move from a deficit to a surplus in trade at the end of last year was Nigeria.

Overall, 26 major economies recorded a surplus in 2022, compared to 32 economies a year earlier. The study was conducted by RIA Novosti on the basis of data from the national statistical services of the globe’s 60 largest economies, which had disclosed trade results for January-December 2022 as of mid-March.

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