Spanish exports of goods grew by 0.9% between January and October 2016 compared with the same period of the previous year, amounting to 210.29 billion euros, an all-time high since records began. Imports fell by 1.6% to 225.35 billion euros.
Consequently, the trade deficit for the first ten months of 2016 stands at 15.06 billion euros, 26.6% less than in the same period of 2015 and the second best balance in these months since 1997, only bettered by 2013. Spanish exports outperformed those of the Eurozone and the European Union.
By volume, exports grew by 3%, since prices measured by Unit Value Indices fell by 2% while imports grew by 2.4% due to prices falling by 3.8%.
The coverage rate (exports over imports) stood at 93.3% (2.3 percentage points higher than in January-October 2015). It is the second best figure since records began, only bettered in 2013.
The non-energy balance posted a deficit of 1.8 billion euros (2.16-billion euro surplus in the cumulative figure to October 2015) while the energy deficit fell by 41.6% due to the substantial decline in energy prices.
The positive trend in Spanish exports between January and October contrasts with the trend in surrounding areas: in the Eurozone exports fell by 0.4% and in the European Union by 1.2%. Exports were also down in France (-2.2%) and the UK (-3.2%), while growth in Germany (0.3%) and Italy (0.2%) was positive, but less so. Meanwhile exports from the USA (-4.6%), China (-6.9%) and Japan (-9.3%) also declined.
All main sectors reported export growth. Capital goods (accounting for 20.1% of the total) grew by 1.5%; the automotive sector (18% of the total) grew by 7.4%, and food, drink and tobacco (16.7% of the total) grew by 5.9%.
The main positive contributions to exports came from the automotive sector (contributing 1.3 percentage points), food, drink and tobacco (0.9 points), consumer manufactures (0.5 points), and capital goods (0.3 points). The sectors that most dragged exports came from other goods (-1.6 points), non-chemical semi-manufactures (-0.4 points), raw materials (-0.1 points), and chemical products (-0.1 points).
With regard to imports, the consolidation of the recovery of the Spanish economy is driving growth in most sectors. Imports of capital goods (21.7% of the total) increased by 7.3%, automotive imports (13.8% of the total) grew by 4.4%, purchases of consumer manufactures (up by 6.4%), food, drink and tobacco (up by 4.1%), and durable consumer goods (up by 8.6%).
The main positive contributions to imports in January-October came from capital goods (a contribution of 1.4 points), consumer manufactures (0.8 points), the automotive sector (0.6 points), and food, drink and tobacco (0.5 points). The greatest negative contributions were from energy products (-4.2 points), chemical products (-0.5 points), and raw materials (-0.4 points).
Exports to the European Union (66.4% of the total) grew by 3.3% in the first ten months of the year. In particular, sales to the Eurozone (51.7% of the total) and to the rest of the European Union (14.7% of the total) were up by 3.2% and 3.5%, respectively.
The unfavourable trade cycle in emerging countries caused exports to third countries (33.6% of the total) to fall by 3.5% in this period, with exports to North America (-2%), Latin America (-11.3%), the Middle East (-5.5%), Africa (-1.1%) and Oceania (-20%) all shrinking. Conversely, exports to Asia excluding the Middle East grew by 3.8%.
Despite the general decline in sales to third countries, special note should be made of sales to such high potential markets as Canada (+7.4%), China (+12.8%), Hong Kong (+8.1%) and Morocco (+13.6%).
The autonomous regions posting strongest export growth were Castile and Leon (9.2%), Castile-La Mancha (7.5%) and Galicia (4.3%). The greatest declines were recorded in the Canary Islands (-16.1%), Asturias (-12.2%) and the Balearic Islands (-4.4%).
Figures for October
In October, Spanish exports of goods shrank by 1.6% on the same month in 2015, to 21.81 billion euros. However, by volume, exports grew by 1%, due to prices measured by Unit Value Indices falling by 2.6%. In seasonally-adjusted terms, prices rose by 0.9%.
Imports in October 2016 fell by 1.7% in year-on-year terms to 23.64 billion euros. By volume, imports fell by 0.9% due to import prices falling by the same percentage.
As a result, in October 2016 a deficit of 1.83 billion euros was posted, 2.9% lower than the same figure for the same month of 2015. The coverage rate stood at 92.2% (the same as in October 2015).
The non-energy balance returned a deficit of 619 million euros (versus a surplus of 129 million in October 2015) while the energy deficit shrank by 39.8%.
The drop in exports in Spain in October (-1.6%) is less than in the Eurozone (-4%) and in the European Union (-4.5%). Exports from France (-8.2%), Germany (-4.1%) and Italy (-2.2%) were also down by a more significant amount. The UK (+6.7%) performed somewhat better. Outside the EU, exports from the USA (-1.2%), China (-7.6%) and Japan (-10.3%) all shrank.
In October, the main contributions to export growth came from energy products (contributing 1.5 points), food, drink and tobacco (0.5 points), and raw materials (0.4 points). Conversely, the sectors that most contributed negatively were other goods (-1.4 points); non-chemical semi-manufactures (-1.3 points); capital goods (-0.8 points) and chemical products (-0.3 points).
In October 2016, exports to the European Union accounted for 65.7% of the total (65.9% in October 2015). This loss of share was due to the fact that the share of the rest of the European Union shrank to 14.1% of the total (versus 15% in October 2015), since the Eurozone’s share of the total grew (51.5% versus 50.9% in October 2015).
Exports to the European Union were down by 2%. Exports to the Eurozone fell by 0.4% while those to the rest of the European Union fell by 7.2%. Of Spain’s main trade partners, we should note lower sales to Germany (-2.3%), France (-1.7%), Italy (-1.6%), and the United Kingdom (-10.3%).
Sales to non-European Union countries accounted for 34.3% of the total (34.1% in October 2015) and fell by 1% on the same month of the previous year. By region, sales to North America (-10.9%), Latin America (-11.4%), the Middle East (-10.2%) and Africa (-0.7%) all shrank. The exceptions were Asia excluding the Middle East (+10.4%), due to an increase in exports to China (+21.8%), Japan (+13.5%), Hong Kong (+12.1%), and Oceania (+5.2%). In addition to these Asian countries, we would highlight increased sales to Egypt (+15.2%) and South Africa (+14.9%) and, in a negative sense, lower sales to the USA (-11.2%), Brazil (-16.3%), Argentina (-36.9%), South Korea (-30.9%), and Saudi Arabia (-10.3%).
Spain’s trade surplus with the European Union stood at 888 million euros in October 2016 (a surplus of 735 million in October 2015). With the Eurozone, the trade balance posted a surplus of 547 million euros (versus a surplus of 200 million in the same month of the previous year). Meanwhile the trade deficit with non-EU countries increased by 3.7% on October 2015, to 2.72 billion euros.