IT: Merchandise Trade

Thu Jul 16 03:00:00 CDT 2015

Actual Previous Revised
Level E4.3B E3.5B E3.6B

The seasonally adjusted trade balance was in a E4.3 billion surplus in May following a marginally larger revised E3.6 billion excess in April.

The headline gain was mainly attributable to stronger exports which rose 1.5 percent from April, their third increase in the last four months. Much of this came courtesy of a 28.4 percent jump in the energy sector excluding which exports were up only 0.6 percent. Consumer goods (2.2 percent) had a good period but intermediates were only flat and capital goods were weak (minus 0.3 percent). Compared with May 2015 exports were 2.0 percent stronger.

Imports fell a monthly 0.3 percent, largely due to a 5.3 percent slump in energy although capital goods also struggled (minus 0.9 percent). Annual import growth was 0.5 percent.

The average surplus so far in the second quarter stands at E3.9 billion, just 3.7 percent below its first quarter mean. This suggests that total net exports had only a limited impact on real GDP growth over the period.

Merchandise trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of both tangible goods and services. The level of the international trade balance, as well as changes in exports and imports, indicate trends in foreign trade. The goods balance is the main market focus.

Changes in the level of imports and exports, along with the difference between the two (the trade balance) are a valuable gauge of economic trends here and abroad. While these trade figures can directly impact all financial markets, they primarily affect currency values in foreign exchange markets.

Separate reports are published for external and internal EU trade. The extra-EU trade data are compiled on the basis of customs declarations with non-EU countries. The intra-EU trade data (Intrastat) are derived from surveys and provide statistics on trade between Italy and other EU member states. The data are available monthly. World trade data are available within one month after the reference month while intra-EU trade data are available within 7 weeks after the reference month.