Non-seasonally adjusted exports rose 1.2 percent year-on-year to € 34.3 billion in March, following a 3 percent increase in the previous month, driven by higher machinery, equipment and vehicle sales to the United States. Shipments to the Euro Area gained 5.2 percent: Spain (10.9 percent) and Germany (4.6 percent). Sales to the United Kingdom advanced 9.5 percent, those to the ASEAN countries rose 14.6 percent and sales to China increased 13.9 percent.
Imports shrank a non-seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent year-on-year to € 30.43 billion, mainly due to a fall in non-EU purchases (-5.4 percent). Imports from the OPEC countries decreased 43.8 percent and those from Russia contracted 25.4 percent. Imports of natural gas fell 27.8 percent, transport equipment went down 19.8 percent and crude oil decreased 19.6 percent.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports fell 0.8 percent from February and imports contracted at a faster 1 percent.
In the first quarter of 2014, the trade surplus was € 6.864 billion, up from a € 2.316 billion surplus a year ago. Exports grew 1.5 percent while imports fell 3.4 percent.