Imports increased 1.7 percent year-on-year to EUR 37.19 billion in May from EUR 36.57 billion, led by gains in purchases of: metals (8.3 percent); chemicals (9.4 percent); crude oil (11.8 percent); machinery (5.3 percent); pharmaceuticals (5.4 percent); and natural gas (10.1 percent). Meanwhile, imports of other transport means and electronics fell by 19.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.
The rise in imports mainly reflected the increase in purchases from OPEC (28.6 percent), Germany (3.8 percent), Belgium (12.2 percent), Spain (5.3 percent) and Russia (7.4 percent). By contrast, imports fell from Japan (-50 percent), France (-6.1 percent) and China (-5.7 percent).
Exports dropped 0.8 percent to EUR 40.57 billion in May from EUR 40.91 billion a year earlier, mainly due to lower sales of: vehicles (-10 percent); machinery (-3 percent); other manufactured goods (-7.8 percent); chemicals (-4.2 percent); and other transport means (-2 percent). By contrast, exports of coke and refined petroleum products increased 14.1 percent and those of clothing rose 5.1 percent.
Exports fell mostly to OPEC (-16.6 percent), Turkey (-11.3 percent), Belgium (-6.8 percent), Russia (-10.7 percent) and China (-5.7 percent). Meanwhile, sales rose to Switzerland (6.2 percent), Spain (2.9 percent) and Czech Republic (7.6 percent).
With European Union countries, the trade surplus narrowed to EUR 1.015 billion from EUR 1.693 billion in May last year.