The seasonally adjusted trade balance was in a E3.3 billion surplus in August. This compared with an unrevised E3.7 billon excess in July and reflected a second successive monthly drop in both exports and imports.
Exports were down 3.6 percent versus July when they declined 0.5 percent. At E30.2 billion, they now stand at their weakest level since February. A decline in energy prices was again an important factor but even excluding this, overseas purchases shrank a monthly 3.2 percent.
Meantime, imports were off a monthly 2.6 percent (minus 1.1 percent ex-energy), implying a cumulative slide of fully 6.5 percent since June. Compared with a year ago, exports were just 1.0 percent firmer, down from 6.3 percent last time and 9.4 percent in June, while imports were 2.1 percent higher after a 4.1 percent gain in July.
Despite August's setback, average black ink of E3.5 billion in July/August was still up 1 percent from its second quarter mean. This boosts the likelihood that total net exports provided a lift to quarterly GDP growth which, on current trends, looks as if it managed a third successive increase in 2015.
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.
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