Exports advanced 12.2 percent year-on-year to an all-time high of EUR 13.58 billion in January of 2019, boosted by higher sales of of chemicals and related products (12.8 percent), led by organic chemicals (44.9 percent); and machinery and transport equipment (22.1 percent), mainly due to electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes and parts (30.2 percent). In addition, shipment rose for food and live animals (4.6 percent); manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (5.1 percent); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (163.3 percent) and crude materials, inedible, except fuels (10.7 percent).
Shipments to the EU grew 26.5 percent to EUR 7.07 billion, representing 52.1 percent of total exports, of which EUR 2.22 went to Belgium and EUR 1.16 billion to Great Britain. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.79 billion, or 27.9 percent of total exports.
Meanwhile, imports edged up 0.8 percent from a year earlier to EUR 6.58 billion, mainly due to higher purchases of machinery and transport equipment (15.6 percent), particularly other transport equipment including aircraft (31.1 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (9.3 percent) and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (21.7 percent). On the other hand, imports fell for chemicals and related products (-27.9 percent), dragged down by medical and pharmaceutical products (-48.2 percent); and food and live animals (-1.7 percent).
Imports from the EU rose 8 percent to EUR 4.0.4 billion in January, accounting for 61.3 percent of total goods purchases. Also, imports from Great Britain went up 12.2 percent to EUR 1.6 billion and those from France increased 103.4 percent to EUR 0.76 billion. The US with EUR 0.95 billion, or 14.5 percent, and China with EUR 0.47 billion, or 7.1 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.