Exports recover. Imports continue accelerating

  • ECO News
  • 10 July 2017

Exports increased 15.4% and imports soared 22.4% in May. The trade deficit of goods augmented 503 million euros in comparison to the homologous month of 2016.

After having nearly flattened out, exports of goods accelerated once again in comparison to the same period of 2016. As for imports of goods, they continue the increasing trend they have been experiencing throughout this year. Exports and imports had moved forward in parallel in the first months of 2017, but in April, Portuguese sales to foreign countries stagnated. However, imports maintained their steadiness, in such a way that the trade balance continues to worsen, freezing at -5,383 million euros until May.

“In May 2017, exports and imports of goods recorded year-on-year nominal growth rates of +15.4% and +22.4% respectively”, Statistics Portugal (INE) disclose. Therefore, in the second quarter, exports increased less than the imports of goods (13.2% and 16.5%, respectively), in comparison to the homologous period. This was an inversion from what went on in the first quarter of 2017: exports had increased more than the import of goods (17.1% and 15.3%, respectively).

Nonetheless, the acceleration of external trade of goods is “partly” explained by calendar adjustments, which harm the comparison. “The acceleration, both in exports and imports, partially reflected calendar effects, given that in May there were four more working days in comparison with April”, is stated by INE.

The European Union market made a great contribution to the exports and imports results, reflecting the recovery of the majority of European economies, including Portugal’s major trade partners. INE also mentions there have been increases in almost all economic categories: industrial supplies increased the most in comparison to last year, but imports of fuels and lubricants, “in large part due to the impact of the increase in prices”, grew the most as a percentage (56.6%).

As a result, the trade balance of goods worsened to 5,383 million euros in the first five months of the year, 1,280 million euros more than in the same period of 2016. The trade deficit of goods worsens by the 30% increase in the homologous period of 2016. In the first quarter, the trade surplus (of both goods and services) had also decreased, since the positive contribution of services was not enough to compensate for the negative contribution of goods.