THERE was some positive financial news as the Spanish government announced that the value of exports had hit an all-time high and the trade deficit had shrunk by 27.1 per cent in the period January to November 2016.
As imports fell by 0.9 per cent to €250.11 billion in the period under review, the trade deficit fell to €16.1 billion in one of the best years since 1977, beaten only by the result in 2013.
The positive performance of Spanish exports between January and November is in contrast to that of Spain’s neighbours. In the Eurozone, exports increased slightly (0.2 per cent) while in the European Union as a whole exports shrank by 0.6 per cent.
Exports were up in Germany (0.8 per cent) and Italy (0.7 per cent), but less so than in Spain, and were down in France (-1.8 per cent) and the United Kingdom (-1.5 per cent), with figures for the USA (-4 per cent), China (-6.4 per cent), and Japan (-8.5 per cent) being far worse.
Main improvements in exports were seen in capital goods, the automotive sector, and food, drink and tobacco, although growth of imports was also seen in the same sectors.
Exports to the EU which amount to 66.5 per cent of all exports grew by 4 per cent whilst sales to other countries throughout the world saw some falls although Canada, China, Hong Kong and Morocco saw significant and welcome increases.
Spain’s trade surplus with the EU stood at €1.71 billion in November 2016 compared to €554 million in November 2015 but the trade deficit with non-EU countries increased by 23 per cent over the November 2015 results to €2.96 billion.