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Foreign trade report. January to September 2020

Exports recover in September and stand at a similar level to a year ago

Thursday 19 November 2020

This shows that exports in September of this year stand at a similar figure to a year ago, with a drop of just 0.9% on September 2019. Exports from the agri-food and automotive sectors were those that most stood out, while by destination, sales rose to the EU - mainly France and Germany - and to China.

The State Secretary for Trade, Xiana Méndez, remarked that "The figures show that Spanish exports continue on their path to recovery following the initial impact of COVID-19 on trade flows. This trend allows a continuation of the intense reduction in the trade deficit and the indicators show that exports will contribute to the recovery of the Spanish economy".

Figures from January to September 2020

In the period January-September, Spanish exports amounted to 188.4 billion euros, a drop of 12.6% on the same period of 2019. Imports dropped by 17.2% to 199.51 billion euros.

Accordingly, the trade deficit for the first nine months of the year amounted to 11.11 billion euros, 56.4% less than the amount posted in the same period of 2019, and the coverage rate (imports over exports) stood at 94.4% (89.4% in January-September 2019).

Spanish exports fell in line with other European economies, a little lower than in the Eurozone (down 11.2%) and in the EU-27 (down 10.5%). Exports also fell for such countries as France (down 19.1%), the United Kingdom (down 16.2%), Italy (down 11.6%) and Germany (down 11.7%). Outside Europe, exports also dropped for the United States (down 15.4%), China (down 0.8%) and Japan (down 14.6%).

The sector to post the largest rise in exports was food, drink and tobacco. The main negative contributions came from the capital goods, automotive and energy products sectors.

Exports to the European Union (60.5% of the total exports from Spain) fell by 10.3% in the first nine months of the year.

Exports to third countries (39.5% of the total) fell by 16% in this period, with falls in exports to Latin America, down 27%, Africa, down 19%, the Middle East, down 13.5%, North America, down 12.7%, Asia, excluding the Middle East, down 6.7%, and Oceania, down 6.6%,

By autonomous region, exports grew from Extremadura, up 4.1% year-on-year. In contrast, the largest declines were posted from the Canary Islands, down 32.5%, Asturias, down 20.3% and the Basque Country, down 19.7%.

Figures for September

In September, Spanish exports of goods amounted to 23.25 billion euros, a fall of 0.9% on the same month of 2019. Imports fell by 10.8% year-on-year to 24.74 billion euros.

Consequently, a deficit was posted in September 2020 of 1.49 billion euros, 65% less than in the same month of 2019. The coverage rate stood at 94%, 9.3 percentage points more than in September 2019.

The non-energy balance posted a deficit of 576.1 million euros (deficit of 2.56 billion euros in August 2019) while the energy deficit fell by 46.3%.

Exports in Europe suffered larger falls than in Spain (down 2.1% in the Eurozone and down 1.5% in the EU-27).

The sectors that saw increased exports were the food drink and tobacco, capital goods and automotive sectors. In contrast, the sectors the biggest negative contribution were energy products and chemical products.

In September 2020, exports to the EU accounted for 61.8% of the total (59.5% in September 2019), and rose by 2.9%. Exports to the Eurozone rose by 4.4% while those to the rest of the EU fell by 8.3%. Of Spain's main trading partners, there were noteworthy increases in sales to France (up 12.9%) and Germany (up 7.9%). Exports to third countries (non-EU) accounted for 38.2% of the total, dropping by 6.5% year-on-year, while sales to the United Kingdom fell by 13.4%.

Non official translation