Exports went down 1.8 percent year-on-year to EUR 41.52 billion, the biggest annual drop since April of 2017. Main downward pressure came from lower sales of base metals and metal products, excluding machines and plants (-4.8 percent); motor vehicles (-7.5 percent); and machines and apparatus (-1.9 percent); while increases were seen in shipments of refined petroleum products (7.2 percent) and pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical products (3 percent).
Exports fell to both the EU countries (-1.5 percent) and non-EU (-2.2 percent), namely OPEC countries (-11.5 percent), the UK (-9.2 percent) and Belgium (-12.3 percent). Exports rose to the Netherlands (8.3 percent) and the US (1.6 percent).
Imports were unchanged at EUR 36.98 billion. Declines were seen in purchases of consumer goods (-4.3 percent) and intermediate goods (-0.8 percent) while increases were registered for capital goods (0.6 percent) and energy (12.4 percent). Purchases rose from the EU countries (0.4 percent), namely Germany (6 percent) and France (4.2 percent). In contrast, imports fell 0.5 percent from the non-EU countries, namely from the US (-21.3 percent).
Considering the first quarter of the year, sales rose 3.3 percent and imports 2.6 percent. The trade surplus reached EUR 7.54 billion.