Year-on-year, exports fell by EUR 885 million, or 8 percent, to EUR 9,601 million, mainly due to lower sales of organic chemicals (-29 percent) and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (-19 percent). In contrast, exports rose for medical and pharmaceutical products (13 percent) and food and live animals (5 percent), namely dairy products and birds' eggs.
The EU accounted for EUR 5,036 million, or 52 percent of total goods exports, a decrease of EUR 274 million, or 5 percent, compared with September of 2016. Exports to Belgium were EUR 935 million and to Germany were EUR 728 million. Exports to the UK increased by EU 120 million, or 10 percent, to EUR 1,297 million, boosted by higher sales of chemicals and related products. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 2,866 million, or 30 percent, of total exports in September of 2017.
Meantime, imports declined by EUR 1,126 million, or 17 percent, to EUR 5,535 million compared with September 2016, led by reduced purchases of other transport equipment, including aircraft (-60 percent). Conversely, imports rose for medical and pharmaceutical products (32 percent), food and live animals (11 percent) and petroleum (14 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 3,453 million, or 62 percent of the value of goods imports, a decrease of EUR 516 million, or 13 percent, compared to the previous year. Imports from the UK advanced by EUR 54 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 1,411 million, mostly driven by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials. The US with EUR 865 million, or 16 percent, and China with EUR 389 million, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in September 2017 was EUR 2,083 million, a decrease of EUR 610 million, or 23 percent, of total imports.
Year-to-date, the trade surplus increased to EUR 35 billion from EUR 33.9 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 2 percent to EUR 90.1 billion and imports rose at a slower 1 percent to EUR 55.1 billion.