Conventional theory and several empirical studies state that incomes and exchange rates are the key determinants of the trade balance. Here, we argue that export and import composition are also key explanatory variables because some goods are inelastic and/or with a high added value, directly and indirectly affecting income and price elasticities and trade balance. Thus, if exports and/or imports significantly consist of price inelastic products, then, a positive and a negative effect, respectively, should be expected on the trade balance. Using bilateral trade data and dynamic panel models, we found that the ratio of exports of crude petroleum and natural gas (price inelastic goods) to total exports is significantly and positively associated with the Russian trade balance in goods. For its part, Russian imports of high-tech goods (income elastic and price inelastic with a high added value) show a negative association. The goods balance of Russia also responded to changes in relative income, but there is only weak evidence of reactions to changes in the exchange rate. These findings partially explain the persistent surplus in the Russian trade balance and current account.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics