Imports climbed 40 percent from the previous year to EUR 7.59 billion in July 2018, the strongest gain since January 1989, boosted by higher purchases of medical & pharmaceutical products (118 percent); other transport equipment, including aircraft (163 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (84 percent).
Imports from the EU increased 43 percent to EUR 4.80 billion, accounting for 63 percent of total imports. Meantime, imports from Great Britain were up 7 percent to EUR 1.43 billion. The US with EUR 0.94 billion, or 12 percent, and China with EUR 0.52 billion, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Exports advanced at a slower 20 percent to EUR 11.02 billion, mainly due to higher sales of medical & pharmaceutical products (37 percent); organic chemicals (41 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (24 percent).
Shipments to the EU rose 15 percent to EUR 5.65 billion in July. They accounted for 51 percent of total goods exports, of which EUR 1.44 billion went to Belgium and EUR 0.73 billion to Germany. Exports to Great Britain rose 5 percent to EUR 1.17 billion. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.07 billion, or 28 percent, of total sales.
Considering the January to July period of 2018, the trade surplus widened to EUR 31.02 billion from EUR 26.55 billion, as sales grew 11 percent to EUR 80.33 billion and purchases advanced at a slower 8 percent to EUR 49.31 billion.