Exports jumped 20 percent from the previous year to EUR 11.56 billion in August 2018, driven by sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (44 percent); organic chemicals (50 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (37 percent).
Exports to the EU grew 22 percent to EUR 6.12 billion in August. They accounted for 53 percent of total goods exports, of which EUR 1.57 billion went to Belgium and EUR 1.07 billion to Germany. Shipments to Great Britain. however, fell 5 percent to EUR 1.13 billion. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.16 billion, or 27 percent, of total exports.
Meantime, imports advanced at a softer 18 percent to EUR 7.17 billion, as purchases increased primarily for medical and pharmaceutical products (48 percent), mineral fuels (53 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (53 percent).
Imports from the EU rose 21 percent to EUR 4.22 billion, accounting for 59 percent of total purchases. In addition, imports from Great Britain were up 2 percent to EUR 1.45 billion. The US with EUR 1.30 billion, or 18 percent, and China with EUR 0.55 billion, or 8 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Considering the January to August period of 2018, the trade surplus widened to EUR 35.19 billion from EUR 30.06 billion, as sales grew 12 percent to EUR 91.95 billion and purchases rose at a slower 9 percent to EUR 56.76 billion.