IT: Merchandise Trade

Fri Jul 14 04:00:00 CDT 2017

Actual Previous
Level E3.4B E4.0B

Seasonally adjusted, the black ink on merchandise trade narrowed to E3.4 billion in May from an unrevised E4.0 billion in April.

The deterioration was due to the relative strength of imports which rose 3.2 percent on the month or comfortably more than double the 1.2 rate posted by exports. Unadjusted annual growth of the former climbed from minus 0.2 percent to 17.5 percent and of the latter from minus 2.8 percent to 13.1 percent.

Exports were hit by weakness in oil and overseas sales of energy shrunk fully 16.7 percent from April. Excluding this category, exports were up a monthly 1.8 percent, although this was still only half the comparable rate for imports.

So far, the average trade surplus for the second quarter is running almost 5 percent below its first quarter mean. With domestic demand still struggling to achieve a meaningful recovery, exports will probably need to sustain a solid uptrend if the economy is to achieve anything like respectable growth through year-end.

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.