The seasonally adjusted merchandise trade balance returned a E4.6 billion surplus in June, little changed from May's unrevised E4.9 billion.
The minor deterioration reflected a 0.4 percent monthly fall in exports, their second successive decline, and unchanged imports. Within the former, a 0.8 percent increase in capital goods was more than offset by decreases in consumer goods (1.3 percent) and intermediates (1.2 percent) although part of the hit here was tempered by a 4.7 percent bounce in energy. Imports similarly benefitted from stronger purchases of energy, and without this, would have declined 0.2 percent.
The black ink on external goods trade has been broadly stable since February. However, the headline data have been bolstered by weak energy prices. In fact, export volumes over the first five months of the year were up just 0.1 percent from the same period a year ago while imports climbed some 4.1 percent. Italian manufacturers would be perfectly happy with a weaker euro.
The merchandise trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of goods. The level of the international trade balance, as well as changes in exports and imports, indicate trends in foreign trade and can offer a guide to an economy's competitiveness.
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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