The seasonally adjusted trade balance was in a E4.3 billion surplus in July after an unrevised E4.6 billion excess in June.
The July outturn was the smallest since January but still close to recent highs and nearly 15 percent larger than a year ago. The minor monthly deterioration was due to a 0.6 percent fall in exports, compounded by a 0.5 percent increase in imports. The decline in the former was in large part due to a 13.1 percent slump in sales of energy and without this exports would have dropped just 0.2 percent. Elsewhere consumer goods were down 0.4 percent and capital goods 0.7 percent but intermediates rose 0.5 percent. Non-energy imports were 0.4 percent lower.
July's black ink was 7.5 percent below the second quarter average and recent data have pointed to a slight weakening in net export trends. Total net external trade provided a small boost to total output last quarter and more of the same will probably be needed if the economy is register anything like respectable growth in the July-September quarter.
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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