Imports climbed 28 percent from the previous year to an all-time high of EUR 8.12 billion in September 2018, amid higher purchases of medical and pharmaceutical products (82 percent); other transport equipment, including aircraft (63 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (67 percent).
Imports from the EU rose 28 percent to EUR 4.97 billion in October, accounting for 61 percent of total goods purchases. Also, imports from Great Britain advanced 0.6 percent to EUR 1.47 billion. The US with EUR 1.74 billion, or 21 percent, and China with EUR 0.44 billion, or 5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
Meantime, exports advanced at a slower 11 percent to EUR 11.34 billion, boosted by sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (29 percent) and organic chemicals (79 percent) while those of food and live animals declined (-11 percent).
Shipments to the EU grew 11 percent to EUR 6.01 billion, representing 53 percent of total goods exports, of which EUR 1.64 billion went to Belgium and EUR 0.85 billion to Germany. External sales to Great Britain, however, fell 5 percent to EUR 1.30 billion. The US was the largest non-EU destination accounting for EUR 3.36 billion, or 30 percent, of total exports.
Considering the January to September period of 2018, the trade surplus decreased to EUR 38.00 billion from EUR 33.94 billion, as sales grew 12 percent to EUR 103.40 billion and purchases rose 12 percent to EUR 65.40 billion.