Imports rose 0.3 percent to EUR 25.47 billion in September of 2018 from EUR 25.41 billion a year ago, primarily driven by purchases of chemical products (11.2 percent), mostly medicines (23.8 percent); energy products (15.7 percent), namely oil & by-products (19.2 percent) and non-chemical semi-manufactured products (6.1 percent), such as iron & steel (7.8 percent) and non-ferrous metals (8.8 percent). In contrast, imports declined for equipment goods (-4.3 percent), including machinery (-4.6 percent) and aircraft (-71.9 percent); consumption goods (-1.3 percent), of which textiles (-0.3 percent) and toys (-11.7 percent); automotive products (-12.4 percent), namely auto parts (-13.6 percent) and cars & motorbikes (-11.2 percent); food, beverages & tobacco (-5.5 percent) and raw materials (-11.1 percent).
Among major trade partners, imports grew from the UK (14.4 percent), Turkey (17.3 percent), China (4.2 percent) and Saudi Arabia (44.9 percent); but fell from Germany (-3.5 percent), France (-5.1 percent), the Netherlands (-10.5 percent), Belgium (-7.4 percent), Russia (-32.2 percent) and the US (-11.2 percent) and were flat from Italy.
Exports fell 4.6 percent to EUR 22.18 billion from EUR 23.26 billion in the same month a year earlier. Sales declined for capital goods (-10.1 percent), mainly transport equipment (-40.4 percent) as aircraft (-58.4 percent) and ships (-49.2 percent); automotive products (-15.1 percent), primarily cars and motorbikes (-21.3 percent); food, beverages & tobacco (-3.7 percent); non-chemical semi-manufactured products (-1.3 percent), mostly non-ferrous metals (-8.2 percent) and consumption goods (-7.2 percent), such as textiles (-11.3 percent). Meanwhile, higher shipments were registered for chemical products (1.7 percent), energy products (13.0 percent), of which oil & by products (13.1 percent) and raw materials (13.2 percent).
Among major trade partners, exports decreased mostly to Germany (-19.4 percent), Italy (-6.8 percent), the UK (-8.3 percent), Portugal (-2.4 percent), Belgium (-11.0 percent), Switzerland (-6.0 percent), Turkey (-50.2 percent), the US (-1.4 percent) and Japan (-9.9 percent).
Considering the January to September period of 2018, the trade deficit widened by 30.3 percent to EUR 24.19 billion, as imports advanced 5.5 percent to EUR 236.4 billion and exports rose at a softer 3.2 percent to EUR 212.2 billion.