Imports increased 3.7 percent year-on-year to EUR 31.55 billion in December from EUR 30.41 billion, led by gains in purchases of: crude oil (23.8 percent); coke and refined petroleum products (16.3 percent); paper and paper products, products of printing and reproduction of recorded media (14.6 percent); basic metals and metal products (13.8 percent); and natural gas (13.1 percent). Meanwhile, imports of pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical articles and textile products fell by 5.7 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
The rise in imports mainly reflected the increase in purchases from Romania (22.1 percent), Germany (14.4 percent), Russia (10.7 percent), the UK (10.2 percent) and OPEC countries (10.1 percent). By contrast, imports fell from ASEAN countries (-19.6 percent), the US (-14.8 percent) and China (-10.8 percent).
Exports rose at a slower 2 percent to EUR 36.80 billion in December from EUR 36.10 billion a year earlier, mainly boosted by higher sales of: pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical articles (60 percent); transport equipment (21.9 percent); and food, beverages and tobacco (3.1 percent). By contrast, exports of machinery and appliances declined 7.4 percent and those of vehicles fell 6.5 percent.
Exports rose mostly to the US (16.9 percent), Poland (15.7 percent), Czech Republic (11.5 percent), the Netherlands (9.7 percent) and China (8.3 percent). Meanwhile, sales fell to OPEC (-17.9 percent), ASEAN (-13.2 percent) and MERCOSUR countries (-8.2 percent).
With European Union countries, the trade deficit widened sharply to EUR 974 million from EUR 1 million in December last year.
Considering 2017 full year, the trade surplus narrowed to EUR 47.45 billion from EUR 49.64 billion in 2016.