FOREIGN TRADE AND IMPORT PRICES - NOVEMBER 2023

15.01.2024

In November 2023, a cyclical reduction is estimated for both foreign trade flows, more marked for exports (-2.4%) than for imports (-0.6%). The month-on-month decline in exports concerns both EU (-2.0%) and non-EU (-2.9%) areas.

In the September-November 2023 quarter, compared to the previous one, exports are stationary, imports record a modest contraction (-0.1%).

In November 2023, exports fell year-on-year by 4.4% in monetary terms (from +3.1% in October) and by 6.4% in volume. The decline in exports in value is greater for EU markets (-5.4%) than for non-EU markets (-3.4%). Imports recorded a year-on-year decrease of 8.9% in value, a synthesis of a large contraction for the non-EU area (-20.7%) and a limited increase for the EU (+1.3%); In terms of volume, the reduction was very limited (-0.2%).

Among the sectors that contributed most to the year-on-year reduction in exports were: base metals and metal products, excluding machinery and equipment (-16.0%), transport equipment, excluding motor vehicles (-23.0%), coke and refined petroleum products (-22.5%) and chemicals and chemicals (-7.4%). Exports of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified (n.e.c.) (+5.1%), motor vehicles (+16.6%) and food, beverages and tobacco (+3.9%) grew year-on-year.

On an annual basis, the countries that make the largest contributions to the decline in national exports are: Switzerland (-23.7%), the United Kingdom (-19.8%), Germany (-6.4%), Belgium (-13.7%) and France (-4.4%). Exports to the United States (+5.0%), OPEC countries (+5.6%), Turkey (+7.8%) and China (+5.8%) grew.

In the first eleven months of 2023, exports recorded moderate year-on-year growth (+0.7%), to which higher sales of machinery and equipment n.e.c. (+10.0%), motor vehicles (+23.7%), food, beverages and tobacco (+6.5%), pharmaceutical, chemical-medical and botanical articles (+4.2%) and means of transport, excluding motor vehicles (+5.4%) contributed.

The estimated trade balance in November 2023 is +3,889 million euros (it was +1,447 million in November 2022). The energy deficit (-€4,850 million) is down sharply compared to the previous year (-€8,400 million). The surplus in trade in non-energy products fell from €9,847 million in November 2022 to €8,739 million in November 2023.

In November 2023, import prices increased by 0.3% month-on-month and decreased by 9.4% year-on-year (it was -10.2% in October).

Commentary

The month-on-month reduction in exports in November concerns both EU and non-EU areas; Spread to almost all major groupings of industries, half of which is explained by the contraction in sales of intermediate goods. On average over the last three months, economic momentum is stationary.

On an annual basis, exports declined in both value and volume; the decline affects the EU area more intensely and involves all the main sectors, with the exception of motor vehicles, machinery and food. Imports show a slight attenuation of the negative trend underway since March 2023.

In the first eleven months of 2023, the trade balance is positive for €28.9 billion (it was -€34.7 billion in the same period of 2022).

Import prices recorded a new quarterly increase, albeit limited, and a further reduction in the trend decline, to which the rise in the prices of some energy products in the non-euro area (natural gas) mainly contributed.


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