The British, German and French economies are among those which would be hurt the most if they saw their trade ties cut with no chance of parallel imports, analysts claim © Getty Images / primeimages

The US, Russian and Chinese economies could weather a full trade blockade with relatively little damage, while Germany, France and the UK would be badly hurt, the Russian news outlet Vedomosti reported this week, citing a study by the Sino-Russian Laboratory for Assessing the Consequences of Intercountry Trade Wars.

The research, conducted in early 2024 at China’s National Supercomputing Center, tested the resilience of 19 global economies to large-scale economic sanctions using mathematical modeling. Analysts assessed the direct gross domestic product (GDP) losses each country would suffer if faced with a complete trade blockade without the possibility of parallel imports.

The study revealed that while all countries would see their economies contract under the proposed scenario, some would be hit worse than others. Russia would be among the three most resilient, with its economy shrinking by no more than 3.5%. China would see its GDP ebb by 3.1%, while the US would witness a 2.3% drop.

Meanwhile, the German economy would be the worst hit if its trade ties were cut, contracting by 8.1%. Significant damage would also be suffered by South Korea (down by 7.9%), Mexico (7.2%), France (7%), Türkiye (6.6%), Italy (6%) and the UK (5.7%).

Russia riding sanctions all the way to the bank – economy ministry Russia riding sanctions all the way to the bank – economy ministry

The study also found that the economies of Australia, Indonesia and Japan would see a contraction of 3.7-3.8%, making them less vulnerable to trade sanctions than India, Brazil and Canada, which would see GDP declines of 4%, 4.2% and 5.5%, respectively.

Analysts linked the comparatively good stress-test performance of the American, Chinese and Russian economies with the conditional Composite Index of National Capability, explaining that these countries have more significant natural resources, as well as human, scientific and military potential than others.

Commenting on the findings, Stanislav Murashov, Chief Economist at Raiffeisenbank, noted that when dealing with economic restrictions, the least affected countries would be the best prepared.

“The winner is the one who, in general terms, geared up for [restrictions] by localizing their production, or someone who will be able, for example, to abandon some imported components, parts, raw materials, equipment. Judging by the study, a possible thesis is confirmed that Europe is more reliant on the global market than China, the US and Russia,” he told Kommersant news daily.

The Russian economy, which is already subjected to a wide array of international economic sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict, initially contracted by 1.2% in 2022, but last year posted growth of 3.6%, according to official statistics. The first quarter of 2024 saw the country’s GDP further increase by 5.4% year-on-year, according to preliminary estimates issued on Friday. The International Monetary Fund said last month it expects the Russian economy to expand 3.2% this year, a projection which puts the country ahead of a number of major Western economies, including the US (2.7%), UK (0.5%), France (0.7%), and Germany (0.2%).

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