Exports fell 2.4 percent to EUR 25.61 billion in March of 2018 from EUR 26.23 billion in the same month a year ago. The main contributors to the decline in exports were food, beverages and tobacco (-1.1 points); chemical products (-0.9 points); capital goods (-0.8 points) and consumer goods (-0.6 percent). On the other hand, the sectors that contributed to export growth were energy (0.5 points); automobile (0.5 points) and non-chemical semi manufactures (0.3 points).
Exports to the EU increased 0.4 percent year-on-year and accounted for 67.7 percent of the total exports. Sales to the euro zone grew by 1.5 percent while to the rest of the European Union went down by 3.5 percent. Among the trading partners, exports rose to Germany (7 percent) and France (4.7 percent), but declined to the UK (-10.3 percent), Italy (-5.9 percent) and Portugal (-0.6 percent).
Imports edged down 4.5 percent to EUR 26.44 billion in March from EUR 27.68 billion a year earlier.
Considering the first quarter of the year, the trade deficit widened 3.7 percent to EUR 6.93 billion, as imports picked up 1.3 percent to EUR 77.96 billion and exports jumped 1.8 percent to an all-time high of EUR 71.02 billion.