Seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by €646 million, or 6 percent, to €9,608 million compared with November 2016; and imports also decreased, by €604 million, or 10 percent, to €5,590 million, preliminary figures showed.
Year-on-year, the non-seasonally adjusted value of exports decreased by €415 million, or 5 percent, to €8,836 million, due to lower sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (-16 percent), and office machinery and automatic data processing machines, including computers (-23 percent). Meanwhile, exports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances rose 143 percent.
The EU accounted for €4,616 million, or 52 percent, of total goods exports, of which €1,060 million went to the UK and €1,037 million to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,109 million, or 24 percent, of total exports in December 2016. Exports to the EU increased by €36 million, or 1 percent, while exports to the rest of the world decreased by €450 million, or 10 percent.
Meanwhile, imports went down by €1,449 million, or 21 percent, to €5,545 million compared with December 2015, mainly due to lower purchases of road vehicles (-10 percent), organic chemicals (-43 percent) and medical and pharmaceutical products (-25 percent).
The EU accounted for €3,629, or 65 percent, of the value of goods imports, with €1,421 million, or 26 percent, of total imports coming from the UK. The US with €593 million, or 11 percent, and China with €402 million, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. Imports from the EU decreased by €864 million, or 19 percent and imports from the rest of the world also decreased by €585 million, or 23 percent.
In 2016, the trade surplus widened sharply to €47.3 billion from €42.3 billion in 2015. Exports jumped 4 percent to a record high of €116.9 billion, mainly boosted by sales of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (150 percent) and organic chemicals (10 percent). Among major trading partners, exports to the UK decreased by 4 percent and those to EU countries fell 0.3 percent while sales to the US and to the rest of the world rose by 12 percent and by 9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, imports shrank 0.7 percent to €69.6 billion, dragged by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-27 percent) and machinery specialised for particular industries (-48 percent). Imports from the UK decreased by 8 percent and those from EU countries and from the rest of the world dropped by 1 percent each.