IT: Merchandise Trade

Tue Oct 17 03:00:00 CDT 2017

Actual Previous Revised
Level E3.6B E3.1B E3.2B

Seasonally adjusted, the trade balance was in a E3.6 billion surplus in August, up from a slightly larger revised E3.2 billion in July.

The modest improvement reflected a 4.2 percent monthly rebound in exports (3.9 percent ex-energy) that followed successive declines in June (1.1 percent) and July (1.0 percent). The increase was broad-based as capital goods climbed 4.2 percent, intermediates 5.9 percent and consumer goods 1.8 percent. The level of exports now stands at a record high and shows unadjusted annual growth of 8.4 percent, a 3-month peak. Imports were also robust, gaining 3.5 percent for a yearly increase of 8.2 percent, down from 10.5 percent last time.

Even so, the August report puts the average trade surplus in July/August 9.9 percent below its second quarter mean and warns that total net exports might have subtracted from real GDP growth in the third 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.