IT: Merchandise Trade

Thu Nov 16 03:00:00 CST 2017

Actual Previous Revised
Level E4.9B E3.6B E3.7B

The seasonally adjusted trade balance posted a E4.7 billion surplus in September, up from a minimally larger revised E3.7 billion in August and a record high.

However, the improvement was only attributable to weaker imports as both sides of the balance sheet contracted. Exports fell 0.7 percent on the month and would have been down 0.9 percent but for a 5.2 percent bounce in energy. Consumer and capital goods declined 0.1 percent while intermediates were off 2.6 percent. Imports decreased a sizeable 4.4 percent, led by an 8.0 percent slump in capital goods.

The September data make for third quarter black ink of E11.9 billion. This represents a 4 percent increase versus the previous period and is probably indicative of a positive contribution from net external trade to 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.