Exports sink 13% with the Covid-19 crisis. Imports drop 12%

  • ECO News
  • 8 May 2020

Data for March, released this Friday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), already gives a sign on the impact of the virus on the Portuguese economy.

The trade between Portugal and other countries sank in March, the month in which the Covid-19 pandemic hit Portugal. Exports of goods sank 13% compared to the same period last year while imports fell 12%, according to data released this Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Transport material weighed in total, with exports falling 33.5%, penalised especially by passenger cars. The country’s largest exporter – Autoeuropa’s Palmela plant – was the “engine” of exports in 2019, which stopped between March 17 and April 27, and the recovery has already begun, but gradually.

On the import side of transport material, the decrease was 38.4% due to the segment of Other transport material, which concerns aircraft. Currently, TAP has the operation suspended almost entirely, keeping only three flights, and the workers are in lay-off at least until May 31.

In the opposite direction, food and beverages were the only category of products to increase both exports (+3.8%) and imports (+6.7%) in March 2020.

“The trade balance deficit in goods decreased by 151 million euros when compared to the same month of 2019, reaching 1,586 million euros in March 2020,” explains INE.

In the first quarter of the year as a whole, exports fell 3% and imports fell 4% compared to the first quarter of 2019.