From January to December 2013, exports rose 5.2 percent over a year earlier to € 234 billion, up from 3.8 percent in the previous year. Sales to the European Union rose 4.3 percent and those to the Euro Area grew 4.1 percent. Shipments to Asia increased 10.3 percent, sales to Africa 8.4 percent and those to the Middle East countries grew 24.9 percent.
Sales of equipment goods rose 10.9 percent, accounting for 20.7 percent of total exports and automotive sales expanded 9.7 percent, recovering from a 7.6 percent drop in 2012.
Imports contracted at a slower 1.3 percent to € 250 billion (-2.8 percent in 2012).
Considering the last month of 2013, exports increased 2.9 percent on a yearly basis to € 18.3 billion while imports advanced 5.5 percent to € 20.1 billion. However, on a monthly basis, both exports and imports contracted by 5.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. The trade deficit at € 1.83 billion, compares with a € 1.29 billion deficit a year earlier.