Two-way trade between China and Russia rose to $240 billion in 2023, setting a new record, Chinese customs data showed on Friday.
As one of the world’s top oil consumers, China has become a major economic ally for its northern neighbour, while Moscow was hit with sanctions after declaring war on Ukraine.
Moscow has also stepped up purchases of Chinese goods from cars to smartphones as European and US brands left the Russian market.
China-Russia dollar-denominated trade hit $240.1 billion in 2023, growing 26.3% from a year earlier, according to the data by China’s General Administration of Customs.
Chinese shipments to Russia jumped 46.9% in 2023 from a year earlier, and soared 64.2% compared with 2021, before the Russia-Ukraine war, the customs data showed.
Imports from Russia rose 13% last year from 2022.
Half of Russia’s oil and petroleum exports in 2023 have been shipped to China, Russia’s state news agencies cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying in late December.
The Chinese customs did not release the oil imports data from Russia for the month of December.
Leaders and officials from both countries held multiple bilateral talks last year, hailing their “no-limits” partnership.
Beijing intends to expand energy cooperation with Russia along all stages of production, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui told the Russian state RIA news agency on December 19.
While Russia ramps up Chinese yuan payments for imports amid Western sanctions, China has also increased the use of yuan to buy Russian commodities.
In yuan terms, two-way trade value between China and Russia stood at 1.69 trillion yuan ($235.90 billion) last year, up 32.7% year-on-year, the customs data showed.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard