Imports went up 5.2 percent from a year earlier to EUR 27.82 billion in March, boosted by higher purchases of capital goods (1.5 percent); chemicals (12.7 percent); energy products (13.4 percent); non-chemical semimanufactures (4.0 percent); food, beverages & tobacco (5.7 percent); manufactured goods (3.2 percent); and durable consumer goods (4.9 percent). Meanwhile, pruchases decreased for vehicles (-0.4 percent); and raw materials (-0.2 percent).
Among major trading partners, purchases advanced from China (7.6 percent), the US (39.8 percent) and the UK (16.5 percent) but went down from the Euro Area (-0.8 percent), of which France (-4.9 percent), Italy (-1.6 percent) and Portugal (-3.9 percent).
Exports declined 0.5 percent to EUR 25.47 billion, mostly due to lower sales of the automotive sector (-15 percent); and non-chemicals semi-manufactures (-6.3 percent). On the other hand, sales advanced for capital goods (0.1 percent); food, beverages & tobacco (3.6 percent); chemicals (7.2 percent); energy products (15.6 percent); raw materials (5.3 percent); manufactured goods (1.3 percent); durable consumer goods (1.5 percent); and other products (8.2 percent).
Among major trading partners, sales fell to the Euro Area (-3.8 percent), namely to Germany (-7.1 percent), France (-6.9 percent) and Italy (-0.1 percent), while rose to Portugal (2.2 percent). Shipments also increased to the UK (5.6 percent), the US (11.7 percent) and China (14.3 percent).
Considering the first quarter of the year, the country's trade gap increased to EUR 9.46 billion from EUR 6.93 billion in the same period of 2018, as imports rose 3.2 percent to EUR 80.48 billion and exports were almost unchanged at EUR 71.01 billion.