Seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by €426 million, or 4 percent, to €10,150 in March 2017 from the previous month; and imports decreased by €983 million, or 16 percent, to €5,099 million, preliminary figures showed.
The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 59.1 percent year-on-year to €5,247 million, as exports increased by €958 million, or 10 percent, to €11,062 million, due to higher sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (30 percent), electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (60 percent), and food and live animals (14 percent).
The EU accounted for €5,453 million, or 49 percent, of total goods exports in March 2017, an increase of €450 million, or 9 percent, compared with March 2016. The biggest EU destination for exports was Belgium, which accounted for €1,388 million. Exports to the UK decreased by €9 million, or 1 percent, to €1,129 million, due to a decrease in the exports of machinery and transport equipment. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,978 million, or 27 percent, of total exports in March 2017. Exports to Non-EU countries increased by €508 million, or 10 percent, to €5,609 million.
Meanwhile, imports declined by €992 million, or 15 percent, to €5,815 million compared with March 2016, mainly due to lower purchases of road vehicles (-17 percent). By contrast, imports of petroleum increased by 65 percent and those of chemicals and related products rose by 18 percent.
The EU accounted for €3,737 million, or 64 percent, of the value of goods imports in March 2017, a decrease of €234 million, or 6 percent, compared with March 2016. Imports from the UK increased by €76 million, or 6 percent, to €1,371 million, boosted by imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials. The US with €774 million, or 13 percent, and China with €354 million, or 6 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in March 2017 was €2,078 million, a decrease of €758 million, or 27 percent, compared with March 2016.
In the first quarter of the year, the trade surplus increased to €13.3 billion from €10.1 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 11 percent to €30.2 billion while imports fell 2 percent to €16.9 billion.