IT: Merchandise Trade

June 16, 2017 03:00 CDT

Actual Previous Revised
Level E4.0B E4.5B E4.4B

April's seasonally adjusted merchandise trade balance was in a E4.0 billion surplus, down from a slightly smaller revised E4.4 billion in March.

The modest headline deterioration was due to weakness in exports where a 1.8 percent monthly fall, their second decrease in the last three months, was only partially offset by a 0.6 percent decline in imports. Outside of energy (7.7 percent) all the major exporting sectors had a poor period. Consumer goods were down 0.6 percent, intermediates 1.6 percent and capital goods fully 3.8 percent. Without the boost from energy, exports would have fallen a steeper 2.1 percent.

Still, the April surplus was 2.3 percent above its first quarter average. This bodes cautiously well for a better performance from overall net exports this quarter having subtracted 0.2 percentage points off real GDP growth at the start of the year.

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.