Exports of goods to the rest of the world declined 0.8 percent to EUR 189.6 billion in May from last year's EUR 191.2 billion, while imports rose 0.7 percent to EUR 173.1 billion from EUR 171.9 billion in May 2017. Intra-euro area trade increased 0.5 percent year-on-year to EUR 162.3 billion in May.
Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus widened to EUR 80.0 billion from EUR 78.0 billion in the same period of 2017, as exports grew 2.8 percent to EUR 927.6 billion and imports increased 2.8 percent to EUR 847.6 billion.
Meanwhile, the European Union trade surplus narrowed to EUR 0.2 billion in May from EUR 2.3 billion a year ago. Exports fell 2.7 percent to EUR 160.9 billion from EUR 165.4 billion in May 2017, and imports declined 1.4 percent to EUR 160.7 billion from EUR 163.0 billion.
In January to May, the EU trade deficit increased to EUR 9.1 billion from EUR 8.1 billion in the same period of 2017. Imports rose 1.6 percent to EUR 795.7 billion, boosted by purchases of energy (10.4 percent), other manufactured goods (0.6 percent), and machinery and vehicles (0.5 percent). Meanwhile, imports fell for food and drink (-2.9 percent), chemicals (-1.3 percent) and raw materials (-0.6 percent). Imports rose mainly from China (0.7 percent), Russia (5.5 percent) and Turkey (7.4 percent), but declined from the US (-3.1 percent) and Switzerland (-3.5 percent). Exports went up at a softer 1.5 percent to EUR 786.6 billion, boosted by higher sales of chemicals (5.2 percent), energy (4.8 percent) and other manufactured goods (3.1 percent). By contrast, exports dropped for food and drink (-1.4 percent) and machinery and vehicles (-0.3 percent) while those of raw materials were unchanged. Exports grew to the US (2.1 percent), China (2.5 percent), Russia (1.8 percent) and Turkey (10.4 percent), but dropped to Switzerland (-3.7 percent).