IT: Merchandise Trade

Mon Dec 18 03:00:00 CST 2017

Actual Previous Revised
Level E4.3B E4.9B E5.0B

The seasonally adjusted merchandise trade balance returned a E4.3 billion surplus in October, down from an upwardly revised E5.0 billion in September but still the second best outturn since March.

The deterioration was due to stronger imports which rose a sizeable 2.6 percent on the month, although even this failed to offset their 4.5 percent slump in September. Imports have now expanded in four of the last five months. Exports were also up, but a 0.5 percent monthly gain still left them 2 percent short of August's E34.58 billion record high. In fact, without the benefit of a 12.4 percent monthly surge in energy, exports would only have increased 0.1 percent versus September. Intermediates were 0.6 percent higher and consumer goods were up 0.3 percent but capital goods fell 0.6 percent.

October's black ink was nearly 7 percent above its average level in the third quarter and bodes cautiously well for a positive contribution from total net exports to fourth quarter real GDP growth.

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.