Year-on-year, exports fell by EUR 738 million, or 7 percent, to EUR 9,461 million, due to lower sales of organic chemicals (-31 percent) and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (-46 percent). Conversely, exports advanced for medical and pharmaceutical products (12 percent) and food and live animals (10 percent), mostly meat and meat preparations (6.9 percent) and dairy products and birds' eggs (24.8 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 5.085 million, or 54 percent of total goods exports in October of 2017, an increase of EUR 332 million, or 7 percent, compared with October of 2016. Exports to Belgium were EUR 1,160 million and to France were EUR 607 million. Shipments to the UK increased by EUR 134 million, or 13 percent, to EUR 1,144 million, mainly boosted by higher sales of chemicals and related products. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for EUR 2,389 million, or 25 percent of total exports in October.
Meanwhile, imports rose by EUR 240 million, or 4 percent, to EUR 5,939 million, boosted by higher purchases of mineral fuels (36 percent), namely petroleum, petroleum products and related (31.6 percent); medical and pharmaceutical products (27 percent) and food and live animals (15 percent).
The EU accounted for EUR 3,739 million, or 63 percent of the value of goods imports, an increase of EUR 230 million, or 7 percent, compared to the previous year. Purchases from the UK grew by EUR 111 million, or 8 percent, to EUR 1,485 million, underpinned by imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials and food and live animals. The US with EUR 948 million, or 16 percent, and China with EUR 430 million, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in October 2017 was EUR 2,200 million, an increase of EUR 10 million compared with October 2016.
Considering the January to October period, the trade surplus remained barely unchanged at EUR 38.4 billion, with exports rising 2.2 percent to EUR 62.4 billion and imports soaring 3.5 percent to EUR 60.3 billion.