Workers are seen on a crane above containers at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters) – China’s exports to sanctions-hit Russia rose at a double-digit pace for the third consecutive month in September, bucking the trend of weakening external demand elsewhere amid the Russia-Ukraine war and a global economic slowdown.

Reuters calculations based on Chinese customs data on Monday showed shipments of Chinese goods to Russia rose 21.2% from a year earlier in dollar terms, slowing from a 26.5% increase in August yet outperforming China’s overall export growth of 5.7% by a large margin, as interest rate hikes to curb red-hot inflation in major economies weakened demand for Chinese goods.

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Top exports to Russia included smartphones, generator sets, excavators and containers.

Imports from Russia jumped 55.2% compared with a 59.3% increase in August, partly driven by a 22% annual rise in oil imports, the customs data showed.

Oil supplies from Russia totaled 7.46 million tonnes, equivalent to 1.82 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with 1.96 million bpd in August.

As Western nations have shunned Russia, cooperation with Beijing has become increasingly important for Moscow. Bilateral trade has surged to $136.09 billion in value in the first nine months, up 32.5%.