Imports rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier to EUR 25.65 billion in February, primarily driven by higher purchases of capital goods (2.7 percent), of which machinery for industry (6.2 percent), electrical appliances (10.9 percent) and office equipment and telecommunications (13.9 percent); chemicals (2.4 percent), mostly medicines (12.6 percent); energy products (8.7 percent), namely oil and related (5.9 percent) and gas (27.2 percent); vehicles (1.7 percent); manufactured goods (7.6 percent); non-chemical semi-manufactures (6.1 percent) and durable consumer goods (10.8 percent). Meanwhile, imports fell for food, beverages & tobacco (-3.1 percent), such as oils & fats (-15.5 percent) and sugar, coffee and cocoa (-16.1 percent).
Among major trading partners, purchases went up from China (13.7 percent), the US (6.5 percent) and the UK (5.2 percent) but decreased from the Euro Area (-1.5 percent), namely from France (-6 percent), Italy (-2.4 percent) and Portugal (-3.7 percent).
Exports grew at a slower 1.9 percent to EUR 23.02 billion, led by shipments of capital goods (2.3 percent), namely machinery for industry (6.1 percent) and office equipment and telecommunications (31.9 percent); food, beverages & tobacco (5.1 percent), mainly fruits and vegetables (5.7 percent); chemicals (6.7 percent), of which medicines (12.6 percent) and plastics (1.9 percent); non-chemical semi-manufactures (6.6 percent); manufactured goods (0.6 percent); durable consumer goods (3.7 percent) and other products (10.8 percent). In contrast, overseas sales declined for vehicles (-0.5 percent); energy products (-13.9 percent) and raw materials (-10 percent).
Among major trading partners, there were gains in exports to the Euro Area (2.1 percent), in particular to France (6.4 percent), Italy (1.7 percent), Portugal (5.4 percent) and the Netherlands (15 percent). Shipments also rose to the UK (9.5 percent), the US (11.7 percent) but they fell sharply to China (-20.5 percent).
Considering the first two months of 2019, the trade deficit widened to EUR 7.11 billion from EUR 6.10 billion in the same period of 2018, as imports grew 2.2 percent to EUR 52.66 billion and exports increased only 0.3 percent to EUR 45.54 billion.