Exports surged 33 percent from the previous year to an all-time high of EUR 12.85 billion in October of 2018, amid higher sales of chemicals and related products (43.6 percent), namely medical and pharmaceutical products (70.8 percent) and organic chemicals (15.6 percent). In addition, exports rose for machinery and transport equipment (37.6 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (16.3 percent).
Shipments to the EU grew 17 percent to EUR 6.05 billion, representing 47 percent of total exports, of which EUR 1.17 billion went to Great Britain and EUR 1.19 to Belgium. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.6 billion, or 28 percent of total exports.
Meantime, imports advanced at a slower 26 percent to EUR 8.59 billion, boosted by purchases of machinery and transport equipment (44.7 percent), particularly other transport equipment, including aircraft (46.8 percent) and office machines & automatic data processing machines (90.6 percent). Also, imports of chemicals and related products advanced 11.4 percent, mainly due to medical and pharmaceutical products (12.7 percent).
Imports from the EU rose 21.3 percent to EUR 4.84 billion in November, accounting for 56.5 percent of total goods purchases. Also, imports from Great Britain went up 5.1 percent to EUR 1.6 billion and those from France increased 61.4 percent to EUR 1.4 billion. The US with EUR 1.7 billion, or 19 percent, and China with EUR 0.6 billion, or 6.5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Considering the January to October period of 2018, the trade surplus widened to EUR 43.42 billion from EUR 36.77 billion, as sales grew 14 percent to EUR 116.41 billion and purchases rose 12.21 percent to EUR 72.98 billion.