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Foreign trade report, January-October 2015

Exports grow by 3.8% to October and deficit falls by 2.7%

Monday 21 December 2015

​In turn, imports rose by 3.2% (to 228.96 billion euros). In terms of volume, the increase was greater (5.5%), due to prices falling by 2.2%.

As a result, the trade deficit from January to October amounted to 20.53 billion euros, down 2.7% on the figure posted in the same period of 2014. The coverage rate stood at 91%, 0.5 points higher than in the period January-October 2014 (90.5%). The non-energy balance posted a surplus of 2.16 billion euros (11.96 billion euros in the period January-October of 2014), while the energy balance improved by 31.3% (energy deficit reduction), due to a substantial fall in energy prices.

The accumulated results for Spain are in line with those posted by the country's main Eurozone partners. Exports from the Eurozone rose by 4.2% year-on-year, while those from the EU-28 rose by 4.8%. By country, Spain's rate is similar to that posted by France (3.9%) and Italy (3.5%), higher than that posted by the United Kingdom (-1.6%) and the United States (-6.5%), and lower than that posted by Germany (6.7%) and Japan (5.5%).

Economic sectors

In the first ten months of 2015, exports grew in almost every productive sector. Capital goods exports (19.9% of total Spanish exports) rose by 3% year-on-year. It is worth noting the automotive sector (16.9% of the total), which maintained its significant growth over these last ten months, at 19% year-on-year. The food, beverage and tobacco sector (15.9% of the total) and the chemical products sector (14.6% of the total) also saw export growth of 8.7% and 6.2%, respectively. In contrast, energy product exports fell by 28% year-on-year as a result of low international energy prices. The same can be said of the export of other goods (down 22.2% year-on-year) and raw materials (down 2.1%).

In terms of imports, the 18.4% growth in capital goods imports (19.9% of the total) can be explained by the consolidation of the Spanish economic recovery, due to the dynamic nature of productive investment. The recovery in consumption and increased exports from the sector partly explains the 16.5% growth in imports in the automotive sector (13% of the total), as well as imports in the manufactured consumer goods sector (up 13.5%) and the durable consumer goods sector (up 13.8%).

Geographic areas

As the consolidation of economic recovery continues in the EU-28, exports to this region continue to grow (64.8% of the total and up by 5.9% in January-October 2015 when compared with the same period last year). 5% growth was recorded by Spanish exports to the Eurozone (50.5% of the total). Exports to non-EU destinations rose in this period by 0.2% year-on-year and account for 35.2% of the total, with noteworthy growth in exports to America (up 8.7%), Asia (up 4.7%) and Oceania (up 11.3%). Within these regions, it is worth noting the increased exports to markets of great potential, such as the United States (up 10.4%), China (up 7.5%), Mexico (up 21.6%) and Saudi Arabia (up 40.1%).

By autonomous regions, those with the greatest year-on-year increase to its exports in January-October 2015 were the Region of Valencia and Castile-Leon (both up 14.6% year-on-year), followed by Aragon (up 12.4%). Conversely, the largest year-on-year declines were seen in the Region of Murcia (down 10.9% year-on-year), Cantabria (down 9.2% year-on-year) and Andalusia (down 5.8% year-on-year).

Exports from the Region of Madrid (11.3% of the total) remained almost stable (-0.1% year-on-year), while those from Galicia (7.6% of the total) were up by 4.9%.

October 2015

Spanish goods exports in October fell by 0.8% year-on-year to 22.17 billion euros. The decrease was slightly higher in terms of volume, down 1.5% year-on-year, since prices measured using Unit Value Indices rose by 0.7%. However, in seasonally-adjusted terms, exports rose by 3.9% year-on-year. It must be remembered that the calendar effect is particularly strong this October given that there were two fewer working days than last year.

With the exception of Germany, where exports rose by 3.3%, all Spain's main trading partners posted greater decreases than Spain in October. Italian exports were down by 1.4%, French exports by 1.2% and UK exports by 9.1%. The year-on-year rate posted by the EU-28 rose slightly (up 0.6%), as did the rate posted by the Eurozone (up 0.5%). Outside the EU, US exports fell by 10.2% while Japan's exports fell by 2.2%.

Imports in October fell by 2.2% year-on-year to 24.06 billion euros. In contrast, in terms of volume, imports rose slightly by 0.3% given that import prices fell by 2.5%. The calendar effect on imports can also be seen, which rose by 2.9% year-on-year in seasonally-adjusted terms.

As a result, the trade balance in October 2015 posted a deficit of 1.89 billion euros, 15.7% lower than in the same month of 2014 (a deficit of 2.24 billion euros). The coverage rate stood at 92.2%, 1.3 points higher than in October 2014 (90.9%, provisional data). The non-energy balance posted a surplus of 129.3 million euros (1.26 billion euros in October 2014, provisional data), and the energy deficit fell by 42.3%.

Economic sectors

In October, the main positive contributions to export growth came from the automotive sector (contribution of 2.2 points); manufactured consumer goods (1.2 points); durable consumer goods (0.4 points), and food, beverage and tobacco (0.4 points). In contrast, the main sectors contributing negatively were energy products (-1.9 points and down 29.4% year-on-year), other goods (-1.3 points and down 31.7%), non-chemical semi-manufactured products (-0.7 points) and chemical products (-0.6 points).

Geographic areas

In October 2015, the contribution by exports to the European Union stood at 65.9% of the total, higher than the 63% recorded in October of the previous year. This increase in importance can be attributed to the Eurozone (50.9%, compared with 49.7% in October 2014) and to the rest of the EU (15% in October 2015 compared with 13.3% in the same month of the previous year).

Exports to the European Union rose by 3.8% year-on-year and to the Eurozone by 1.6%, while at 11.9%, those to the rest of the European Union rose much more. Of Spain's main partners, exports rose significantly to Germany (10.9%) and the United Kingdom (12.3%), while those to France fell (-1.2%).

Exports to countries not belonging to the European Union accounted for 34.1% of the total (37% in October 2014) and fell by 8.6% on the same month last year. By region, they fell in North America (-6.9%), Latin America (-2.2%), Asia excluding the Middle East (-19.8%) and Oceania (-11.4%, in spite of a 6.2% increase in exports to Australia). The exceptions were Africa (up 1.6%, mainly due to a 19.6% increase in exports to Morocco) and the Middle East (up 23.7%, due to a 20.5% increase in exports to Saudi Arabia and a 5.8% increase in exports to the United Arab Emirates).

Spain's trade surplus with the European Union rose to 735.7 million euros in October 2015 (698.2 million euros in October 2014). The trade surplus with the Eurozone fell to 200.2 million euros (433.1 million euros in October 2014). In turn, the trade deficit with non-EU countries fell by 10.7% on October 2014 to 2.62 billion euros (deficit of 2.94 billion euros in October 2014).