Czech foreign trade surplus widens 65.1% y/y in April 2013, beats forecast

By bne IntelliNews June 6, 2013

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 %
Total 266,217 233,190 33,026 6.4 1.3
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
Manufactured articles 29,533 22,270 7,262 17.4 9.9
Commodities not classified 569 1,371 -802 143.3 115.6
Source: Stats office          

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