Exports grew 2.5 percent from a year earlier to EUR 11.82 billion in August, driven by shipments of medical and pharmaceutical products (15 percent); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (64 percent) and food & live animals (12 percent). However, sales went down for organic chemicals (-31 percent).
The EU accounted for 5.21 billion, or 44 percent, of total goods exports of which EUR 1.05 billion rose to Germany and EUR 0.76 billion went up to Belgium. Total EU exports decreased by EUR 0.87 billion, or 14 percent, compared with August 2018. Shipments to Great Britain fell by EUR 44 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 1.09 billion. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 4.01 billion, or 34 percent, of total exports.
In contrast, imports declined 9.6 percent to EUR 6.55 billion, amid lower acquisitions of medical and pharmaceutical products (-50 percent) and other transport equipment, including aircraft (-37 percent); while those of organic chemicals surged (107 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 3.52 billion, or 54 percent, of total goods imports, which represents a decline of EUR 699 million, or 17 percent, compared with August 2018. Purchases from Great Britain, which accounted for 21 percent of the value of total imports, went down by EUR 77 million, or 5 percent, to EUR 1.38 billion. The US with EUR 1.07 billion, or 16 percent, and China with EUR 501 million, or 8 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Considering the January to August period of the year, the country's trade surplus widened to EUR 43.72 billion from EUR 35.08 billion in the same period of 2018.