Exports surged 12.5 percent year-on-year to €23.22 billion, the highest value on record. Among European Union countries, sales rose the most to Italy (19.7 percent) and Germany (15.7 percent), followed by France (6.3 percent) and Portugal (6.2 percent). Outside Europe, the highest increases were recorded in sales to Saudi Arabia (167.7 percent), Mexico (60 percent), Chile (56.8 percent), South Korea (56.5 percent), Canada (46.2 percent), Argentina (38.7 percent) and Japan (17.5 percent).
Equipment goods were the main contributor to the rise in exports, accounting for 21.7 percent of total sales and rising 23.9 percent. Shipments from the auto sector rose 0.8 percent; food, drinks and tobaccos went up 19.2 percent and those of manufacturing increased 20.3 percent.
Imports increased 6.3 percent to €24.1 billion.
Considering the first quarter of 2015, exports rose 4.4 percent year-on-year and imports went up at a slower 2.5 percent, thus reducing the trade deficit by 14.9 percent.