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Russia imports fall by more than a third in first quarter amid sanctions, low ruble

MOSCOW – Russia’s customs service says imports were down 35.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year as international sanctions and the low value of the ruble isolate the country from global markets.

The customs service says imports totalled $37.9 billion against $59.1 billion the year before. The figures do not include imports from some nearby ex-Soviet countries.

While the value of the Russian ruble has rebounded this year after losing almost half of its value against the dollar in 2014, it remains significantly below the value it had in the first quarter of last year, making imports more expensive.

In the first quarter, particularly sharp falls were seen in the food products covered by Russia’s import ban on products from the European Union and other Western countries.