Imports jumped by 12.7 percent from the previous year to USD 21.44 billion in March, driven by higher purchases of intermediate goods (13.1 percent), capital goods (12.3 percent), and consumption goods (11.3 percent). Among major trading partners, imports grew from Russia (34.2 percent), Germany (17.9 percent), China (13.1 percent), the UK (112.1 percent), the US (9.2 percent) and Italy (10.5 percent).
Exports rose at a slower 7.7 percent to USD 15.59 billion, boosted by higher sales of manufacturing (8 percent) and agriculture and forestry (6.5 percent). Meanwhile, exports of mining and quarrying fell 4.6 percent. Among major trading partners, exports rose to Germany (14.6 percent), the UK (19.8 percent), Italy (18 percent), Spain (19.9 percent), the US (0.7 percent) and France (15.7 percent), but fell to Iraq (-18.4 percent).
In the first quarter of the year, the trade deficit widened by 64.1 percent to USD 20.72 billion from USD 12.63 billion in the same period of 2017, as imports rose 22.7 percent to USD 61.90 billion and exports increased 8.9 percent to USD 41.19 billion.