Exports jumped 11 percent from the previous year to EUR 11.71 billion in May, mainly due to higher sales of medical & pharmaceutical products (54 percent). By contrast, exports of organic chemicals and electrical machinery & apparatus dropped 12 percent and 24 percent respectively.
Exports to the EU grew 1 percent to EUR 5.67 billion in May. They accounted for 48 percent of total goods exports, of which EUR 1.36 billion went to Belgium and EUR 0.70 billion to Germany. Exports to Great Britain, however, fell 10 percent to EUR 1.18 billion compared with the same month last year. The decrease was led by chemicals & related products and machinery & transport equipment. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.21 billion, or 27 percent, of total exports.
Imports declined 9 percent to EUR 6.80 billion, as purchases fell for other transport equipment, including aircraft (-37 percent). Meanwhile, an increase was seen in imports of both mineral fuels (23 percent) and machinery specialised for particular industries (51 percent).
Imports from the EU increased 3 percent to EUR 4.19 billion, accounting for 62 percent of total imports. Still, imports from Great Britain dropped 6 percent to EUR 1.52 billion, dragged by lower purchases of chemicals and related products. The US with EUR 1.16 billion, or 17 percent, and China with EUR 354 million, or 5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
In January to May, the trade surplus widened to EUR 23.10 billion from EUR 19.29 billion in the same period of 2017.