Czech foreign trade surplus widened by 65.1% on the year to CZK 33bn (EUR 1.3bn) in April 2013, supported by rising automotive exports, data from the statistics office showed. The reading beat market expectations for a surplus of CZK 20bn in a Dow Jones Newswires poll. The statistics office revised down the foreign trade surplus for March 2013 to CZK 31.8bn from CZK 32.3bn announced earlier.
Exports in April reached CZK 266.2bn, rising by 6.4% on the year, their first increase in six months. After sliding for four months in a row, imports increased also in April but at the much weaker annual rate of 1.3% to CZK 233.2bn.
The European Union is the country’s main trading partner as it accounted for 81% of the exports and 65% of the imports in April. The Czech Republic’s trade with EU countries showed a surplus of CZK 64.4bn, which was by CZK 6.2bn higher on the year. The trade gap with non-EU countries shrank by CZK 6.6bn on the year to CZK 30.8bn in the fourth month of 2013.
In the first four months of 2013, the Czech foreign trade surplus widened by 12.3% on the year to CZK 128.7bn with exports and imports falling by 2% y/y and 3.8%, respectively.
IntelliNews comment: The trade surplus data is a good sign for the ailing economy suggesting that it might be heading towards exiting its longest recession on record that started in late 2011. According to final Q1 GDP data released by the statistics office on June 4, foreign trade which used to be the main economic growth driver in 2012 no longer had a positive effect on GDP development as Europe’s debt crisis is curbing demand from abroad.
|in CZKmn||Exports April 2013||Imports April 2013||Balance||Exports y/y change %||Imports y/y change %|
|Food and live animals||8,798||11,392||-2,594||5.4||7.7|
|Beverages and tobacco||1,842||1,396||446||14.7||6.1|
|Crude materials, inedible||7,555||6,844||711||4.4||14.2|
|Mineral fuels, lubricants||9,070||25,279||-16,210||-12.3||-1.2|
|Animal and vegetable oils||682||480||202||-13.9||14.3|
|Chemicals and related products||16,771||28,062||-11,290||7.2||11.9|
|Manufactured goods by material||47,666||43,231||4,436||8.7||3.8|
|Machinery, transport equipment||143,731||92,866||50,865||4.9||-5.9|
|Commodities not classified||569||1,371||-802||143.3||115.6|
|Source: Stats office|
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