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Russia suspends publication of import-export data to avoid 'speculation' – WTVB

(Reuters) – Russia’s customs service has decided to temporarily suspend publication of import and export data in order to exclude errors and “speculation”, the head of the service said on Thursday.
The move will make it much harder to gauge the impact on trade of sweeping western sanctions imposed against Russia since it sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a special military operation.
“The Federal Customs Service is not publishing statistics on imports and exports. I support this decision, I think it is justified in order to avoid incorrect estimates, speculation and discrepancies regarding imports. This is a temporary measure,” Interfax news agency quoted the head of the service, Vladimir Bulavin, as saying.
The customs service used to disclose import and export data for the country’s most important products in the first 10 days of each month.
Earlier on Thursday, the service, when asked to comment on the delay, told Reuters that “the data you are interested in is not available as of today”. It last disclosed data for January in March.
Russian imports fell by “tens of percent” in March due to logistical constraints and the departure of foreign companies, Kremlin aide Maxim Oreshkin said in mid-April.
Russia is a major exporter of oil, gas, metals, wheat and vegetable oils. It imports hundreds of million of dollars of bananas, citrus fruit and coffee, among other products, each year. [METALS/RU] [AGS/RU]
Earlier this month, Russia’s Energy Ministry suspended publication of monthly oil production and export data, while the central bank stopped disclosing data on foreign trade and external debt.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


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