Exports increased 6 percent to EUR 21.97 billion in December from EUR 20.73 billion a year earlier. The main contributions to export growth came from the automobile sector (2 points), energy products (1.9 points), capital goods (1.4 points) and non-chemical semi-manufactured products (0.6 points). The only sectors with a significant negative contribution were food, beverages and tobacco (-0.5 points), other merchandise (-0.3 points) and durable consumer goods (-0.2 points).
Exports to the EU grew 8.3 percent year-on-year, as sales to the euro zone increased 8.5 percent and those to the rest of the European Union went up 7.6 percent. Among major trading partners, exports advanced to Germany (16.5 percent), France (13.9 percent), Portugal (8.9 percent) and Italy (5.2 percent), while those to the UK fell 1.4 percent.
Imports rose at a slower 3.6 percent to EUR 24.02 billion in December from EUR 23.18 billion in the same month of the previous year.
In 2017, the trade deficit jumped 31.9 percent to EUR 24.74 billion. Imports went up 10.5 percent to an all-time high of EUR 301.87 billion, mainly driven by a surge in domestic demand and an increase in energy prices. Thus, imports of capital goods (21.5 percent of the total) went up 7.8 percent; those of chemical products (14.9 percent of the total) grew 5.7 percent; those of energy products (13.4 percent of the total), jumped 36.4 percent; and those of autos (12.9 percent of the total) advanced 4.8 percent. Meanwhile, exports increased 8.9 percent to EUR 277.13 billion, also a new record high for that period. Exports to the EU (65.7 percent of the total) grew 8 percent from 2016, with sales to the euro zone increasing 8.5 percent and those to the rest of the European Union advancing 6.2 percent. The Autonomous Communities with the highest growth in their exports were the Balearic Islands (59 percent), the Canary Islands (26.6 percent) and Andalusia (20.5 percent), while decreases were registered in Castilla y León (-3.9 percent), Navarra (-3.2 percent) and Cantabria (-1 percent).