Spain: Coronavirus disrupts the historical peak of Spanish exports

Pending the corona effects, to be felt from March, Spanish exports of goods rose by 3.5% in January-February on the same period of 2019. Amounting to 47.14 billion euros, it is a record, contrasting with its peer countries results. The main positive contribution to exports came from the food, beverage and tobacco sector.

Aumento exportaciones 2020

For the State Secretary for Trade "these figures confirm that the foreign trade sector started off 2020 buoyantly. The figures from March will inevitably start to reflect the impact of COVID-19 and our foreign trade sector will be strongly affected, but it has sound foundations to help contribute to the recovery when the initial impact of the health crisis is overcome".

The growth in Spanish exports over the first two months of 2020 (up 3.5%) contrasts with its peer countries: exports remained steady in the Eurozone (0%) while they grew slightly in the EU-27 (up 0.5%). Among the main European economies, exports fell from France (down 4.2%), the United Kingdom (down 4.4%) and Germany (down 0.8%), while they increased from Italy (up 4.7%). In other parts of the world, exports grew from the United States (up 0.3%), but fell from China (down 17.2%) and Japan (down 1.7%).

The main positive contributions to exports in January-February 2020 came from the food, beverage and tobacco sector (contribution of 1.4 points), the energy products sector (1.2 points), the automotive sector (0.7 points) and other goods (0.5 points). The only negative contributions came from the raw materials sector (contribution of -0.5 points), the non-chemical semi-manufactured products sector (-0.3 points) and the capital goods sector (-0.1 points).

Imports rose by 0.2% to 52.76 billion euros, also a new record. As a result, the trade deficit for the first two months of the year fell by 20.9% on the same period of 2019, to 5.63 billion euros.

As regards imports, the main positive contributions in the period January-February came from the food, beverage and tobacco sector (contribution of 0.5 points), the consumer manufactured products sector (0.4 points), the chemical products sector (0.3 points) and the capital goods sector (0.2 points). The main negative contributions came from the raw materials sector (contribution of -0.5 points), the non-chemical semi-manufactured products sector (-0.4 points), the energy products sector (-0.3 points) and the automotive sector (-0.1 points).

The coverage rate (Fig. 1) - exports over imports - stood at 89.3% (86.5% in January-February of 2019, with provisional data). In terms of volume, exports rose by 2.5%, since prices, conditioned by Unit Value Indices, rose by 1%. Imports shrank by 2.4% as prices rose by 2.7%.

Variación anual por sectores

Fig. 1. Annual variation of Spanish exports and imports by sector (Jan-Feb 2020)

The non-energy balance posted a deficit of 1.55 billion euros (deficit of 2.31 billion in the first two months of 2019, with provisional data), while the energy deficit fell by 15.1% to 4.07 billion euros (deficit of 1.8 billion in 2019).

Source: Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism