Export of goods falls in March for the first time in 17 months

  • ECO News
  • 10 May 2018

One needs to go back to October of 2016 to find another homologous decrease and, even so, it is smaller. Imports grew 0.1%, decelerating. Calendar effects help explain the variation.

Export of goods suffered a 5.7% plunge in March, in comparison to the same period of 2017, reversing the growth that was registered last month. It is the first homologous fall since the end of 2016: one would need to go back to October of that year to find another decrease and, even so, that decrease was less significant. Calendar effects help explain this most recent evolution.

As for imports, they increased 0.1%, which represents a deceleration in comparison to the variation registered in the previous month (8.1%), according to data disclosed by INE (Statistics Portugal).

INE’s numbers disclosed this Thursday explain that “these evolutions partly reflect a calendar effect given that
there were two less working days in March 2018 compared with March 2017”.

March of 2017 was particularly positive for exports, registering one of the highest amounts and the largest homologous increase of that year. The 5.7% fall now registered is the most significant from the past few years — only in September of 2012 is there a steeper percentage, of 6.2%.

The evolution of exports in March is mostly explained by “the 19.3% decrease in Extra-EU trade”, INE explains. As for the 0.1% increase in imports “due to the performance of Intra-EU trade which grew by 0.2%, given that Extra-EU imports decreased by 0.2%”.

The trade balance deficit of goods reached 1,207 million euros in March, an homologous increase of 306 million euros. But excluding fossils and lubricants, the trade balance has a negative balance of 915 million euros, an homologous increase of over 231 million euros.

In comparison to the previous month, February, data points to a 7.3% increase in exports and a 9.9% in imports, “mainly due to the performance of Intra-EU trade in both flows”.

INE’s data also allows for an overview of the first quarter of 2018. In the first three months of the year, both exports and imports increased — 2.7% and 6.3%, respectively. In the quarter that ended in February, however, exports of goods had increased by 5.4% and imports had a 6.2% growth.