Year-on-year, exports decreased by €363 million, or 4 percent, to €9,558 million, due to lower sales of organic chemicals (-16 percent); while exports of medical and pharmaceutical products grew by 18 percent.
The EU accounted for €4,709 million, or 49 percent, of total goods exports in April 2017, a decrease of €364 million, or 7 percent, compared with April 2016. Exports to Germany were €781 million and to Belgium were €711 million. Meanwhile, exports to the UK increased by €347 million, or 33 percent, to €1,385 million, boosted by exports of chemicals and related products. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,564 million, or 27 percent, of total exports.
Meanwhile, imports rose by €223 million, or 4 percent, to €5,703 million compared with April 2016, mainly due to higher purchases of chemicals and related products (43 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (20 percent). By contrast, imports of road vehicles decreased by 24 percent.
The EU accounted for €3,506 million, or 62 percent, of the value of goods imports in April 2017, an increase of €275 million, or 9 percent, compared with April 2016. Imports from the UK increased by €119 million, or 10 percent, to €1,358 million, due to higher purchases of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, and chemicals and related products. The US with €1,135 million, or 20 percent, and China with €336 million, or 6 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. The total value of imports from non-EU countries in April 2017 was €2,197 million, a decrease of €52 million, or 2 percent, compared with April 2016.
In the first four months of the year, the trade surplus increased to €17.1 billion from €14.5 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 10 percent to €41.0 billion and imports rose at a slower 6 percent to €23.9 billion.