IT: Merchandise Trade

Thu Aug 10 03:00:00 CDT 2017

Actual Previous
Level E4.1B E3.4B

The seasonally adjusted trade balance returned a surplus of E4.1 billion in June, up from an unrevised E3.4 billion in May.

However, the improvement masked contractions in both sides of the balance sheet. In particular, imports fell 2.9 percent on the month which, while not fully reversing May's 3.1 percent bounce, constituted their second drop in the last three months. Exports were off a smaller 1.0 percent and would have been weaker still but for a 3.5 percent increase in energy. Consumer goods were 1.7 percent lower, capital goods 0.9 percent and intermediates 0.7 percent.

Today's data put the second quarter trade surplus at E11.5 billion, just slightly short of the first quarter's E11.7 billion but about 15 percent below its mark a year ago. The signs are that overall net exports probably had a relatively small impact on second 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.