Year-on-year, exports decreased by EUR 1,527 million, or 15 percent, to EUR 8,938 million, due to lower sales of organic chemicals (-45 percent), electric machinery, apparatus and appliances (-29 percent) and medical and pharmaceutical products (-4 percent). By contrast, exports of food and live animals rose 16 percent, boosted by sales of dairy products and birds' eggs (39 percent) and meat and meat preparations (12 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 4,683 million, or 52 percent, of total goods exports, a decrease of EUR 593 million, or 11 percent, compared with August 2016. Exports to Belgium were EUR 896 million and to Germany were EUR 719 million. Meanwhile, exports to the UK increased by EUR 4 million, or 0.3 percent, to EUR 1,133 million in August. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 2,219 million, or 25 percent, of total exports in August 2017.
Meanwhile, imports fell by EUR 580 million, or 10 percent, to EUR 5,135 million compared with August 2016. Purchases of organic chemicals fell 55 percent, while those of medical and pharmaceutical products increased 57 percent.
The EU accounted for 57 percent of the value of goods imports. Total EU imports were EUR 2,950 million which is a decrease of EUR 383 million, or 12 percent compared with August 2016. Also, imports from the UK increased by EUR 104 million, or 8 percent, to EUR 1,376 million. The US with EUR 1,035 million, or 20 percent, and China with EUR 390 million, or 8 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in August 2017 was EUR 2,184 million, a decrease of EUR 197 million, or 8 percent.
In January to August 2017, the trade surplus increased to EUR 31.3 billion from EUR 30.0 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 3 percent to EUR 80.2 billion and imports rose at a slower 2 percent to EUR 48.9 billion. Exports to the UK for the year-to-date were 11 percent higher than the same period in 2016 and imports from the UK were 8 percent higher.