IT: Merchandise Trade

Mon Jun 18 03:00:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous Revised
Level E3.7B E3.9B E3.8B

The seasonally adjusted merchandise trade balance was €3.7 billion in surplus in April after a marginally downwardly revised €3.8 billion in March. This was the smallest surplus so far in 2018.

The minor headline deterioration reflected a 0.1 percent monthly increase in exports that was more than offset by a 0.7 percent rise in imports. The advance in the former was boosted by energy which saw a 6.8 percent gain and excluding which exports would have dipped 0.1 percent. Intermediates and consumer goods (both 1.1 percent) had a good month but capital goods slumped 2.3 percent. Unadjusted annual growth of exports climbed from minus 1.8 percent to 6.6 percent and of imports from 0.1 percent to 9.6 percent but both sides of the balance sheet were aided by favourable calendar effects.

The April black ink was nearly 9 percent below its first quarter average and some improvement will probably be needed in May/June if total net exports are to make a positive contribution to 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.