Year-on-year, exports decreased by EUR 347 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 8,951 million, due to lower sales of organic chemicals (-36 percent) and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (-41 percent). In contrast, exports rose for medical and pharmaceutical products (23 percent) and food and live animals (25 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 4,804 million, or 54 percent of total goods exports, an increase of EUR 244 million, or 5 percent, compared with July 2016. Exports to Belgium were EUR 1,071 million and Germany were EUR 623 million. Exports to the UK increased by EUR 57 million, or 5 percent, to EUR 1,142 million, boosted by higher sales of food and live animals. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 2,042 million, or 23 percent, of total exports in July 2017.
Meanwhile, imports fell by EUR 661 million, or 12 percent, to EUR 4,965 million compared with July 2016, led by lower purchases of chemicals and related products (-13 percent). Conversely, imports of petroleum surged 35 percent.
The EU accounted for EUR 3,091 million, or 62 percent of the value of goods imports, in July 2017, a decrease of EUR 282 million, or 8 percent, from the previous year. Imports from the UK increased by EUR 59 million, or 5 percent, to EUR 1,278 million. The US with EUR 710 million, or 14 percent, and China with EUR 351 million, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in July of 2017 was EUR 1,874 million, a decrease of EUR 379 million, or 17 percent.
In the January to July period, the trade surplus widened to EUR 27.8 billion from EUR 25.3 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 7 percent to EUR 71 billion and imports rose at a slower 5 percent to EUR 43.2 billion.