Exports amounted to €36.7 billion, a quarter-on-quarter decrease of 1.9 percent and 0.6 percent increase from a year earlier. Industrial exports contracted, in particular due to a decline in the aeronautics and space industry and in the automotive industry after their brief recovery in December. In contrast, sales of agricultural products remain strong, while those of pharmaceuticals returned to growth.
Sales towards the EU rose slightly, pushed by an increase in trade with Germany (mainly aerospace machinery) outweighing a decline in sales to the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Imports amounted to €42.6 billion, a quarter-on-quarter decrease of 1.9 percent and 0.6 percent increase from a year earlier. In January, there was a decrease in imports from the EU, despite a slight increase in purchases from Germany and Ireland. There was also a decline in imports from America, Asia and Africa, while energy purchases from the Middle East increased in the first month of 2013.