Exports grew 14 percent from a year earlier to EUR 13.52 billion in May, boosted by sales of organic chemicals (98 percent), electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (86 percent), and professional, scientific and controlling apparatus (23 percent). By contrast, exports of medical and pharmaceutical products slumped 19 percent.
The EU accounted for EUR 6.79 billion, or 50 percent, of total goods exports in May of which EUR 1.52 billion went to Germany and EUR 1.43 billion was exported to Belgium. Total EU exports in May rose EUR 1.03 billion, or 18 percent from a year earlier, with exports to Great Britain increasing EUR 52 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 1.25 billion. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.73 billion, or 28 percent, of total exports in May.
Meanwhile, imports were down 2 percent to EUR 6.80 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of other transport equipment, including aircraft (-37 percent); while gains were reported in imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines (60 percent) and organic chemicals (83 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 4.33 billion, or 64 percent, of total goods imports in May, which is an increase of EUR 48 million, or 1 percent, compared with May 2018. Imports from Great Britain decreased EUR 65 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 1.48 billion. Imports from Great Britain were 22 percent of the value of total imports in May. The US with EUR 696 million, or 10 percent, and China with EUR 406 million, or 6 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus widened sharply to EUR 29.64 billion from EUR 23.04 billion in the same period of 2018.