Market overview

Responsibility for COVID-19 lockdown measures has been transferred entirely to Russia's regions and municipalities, to determine for themselves whether to retain, enhance or lift restrictions.

The Russian Government website has regular updates on COVID-19 in Russia here. You can stay updated on COVID-19 in Russia through The Moscow Times.

For more information on doing business in Russia, visit myNZTE - our free online portal for curated, in-depth information and guidance.   

Economy and trade

The nature of the Russian economy is likely to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19: its heavy dependence on natural resources, its limited SME sector and its dominance by the state (estimated to employ 40-50% of Russia's total workforce).

However, a World Bank report published in July projected a 2020 contraction in Russian GDP of 6% (an eleven year low), exacerbated by the drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020. The same report forecast a decline in household consumption of 5% and of gross fixed capital investment of 8%.

Predictably, the sectors most impacted by the recession were the manufacturing, resource extraction and transport sectors. Agriculture, whilst not immediately affected, may suffer delayed losses due to shortages of migrant labour, internal logistical challenges, and international trading and financial conditions.

In the absence of a second wave of COVID-19 in Russia, a moderate recovery could be expected, pushing GDP into positive growth in 2021 of close to 3% and slightly above in 2022. As uncertainty diminishes, household consumption is expected to lead the recovery.

Supply chain, logistics and freight

St Petersburg's port and local customs have adopted to the COVID-19 crisis and are working as normal.

The transit port of Klaipeda in Lithuania is a vital port for New Zealand exporters to Russia, particularly for New Zealand wine. The movement of cargo ships in this port is continuing as usual, and the port has provided FAQs for exporters on its webpage here.

Government support

Since 17 March, the Russian government and Central Bank of Russia (CBR) have progressively introduced various packages of economic support for businesses.

The Central Bank of Russia provides up-to-date information on measures being taken in Russia.

Advice to exporters

From a long-term perspective, market uncertainty is likely to be the biggest issue for companies operating in Russia. This is seen particularly in regards to currency volatility, which can make New Zealand products less affordable, and customer liquidity affecting customers' ability to pay.

Business operations

The Russian government has set up a Coronavirus online inspection where employers can receive online advice on how to apply labour laws and how to operate effectively in this new environment.


Reopening Russia's borders is likely to continue to be a challenge. Russia has introduced a requirement for arrivals to have a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours old, which is likely to be a barrier to travel given testing constraints in many countries.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.