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Press release 22/10/2019


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Total exports of goods from the Basque Country decreased by 8.9% in August 2019, and imports by 3.3%

In the first eight months of 2019, total exports were down 1.6%, but exports of non-energy products showed a positive balance with a growth of 0.7%

In August 2019 there was an 8.9% drop in exports of goods from the Basque Country, in year-on-year terms, according to EUSTAT data. They totalled 1,543 million euros compared to 1,693 million in the same month of the previous year. Exports of Energy products fell by 47.3% and non-energy product exports were down by 4.1%.

The only province that showed a positive rate in exports was Gipuzkoa with a rise of 10.4%, while Bizkaia registered a decrease of 18.5%, due to the drop in both exports of Energy products (-47.5%) and in Non-energy products (-9.5%), and Álava was down by 16.9%.


Imports of goods to the Basque Country experienced a drop of 3.3%, and stood at a total of 1,485 million euros. Non-energy exports fell 5.3%, and energy exports decreased by 0.7%.

By province, imports were down 25.8% in Álava, whereas they were up 8.6% in Gipuzkoa and 0.4% in Bizkaia.

Analysing the largest branches of activity and, in relation to exports, of particular relevance this month was the upturn in Other Transport Material (144.5%), which was the fifth largest (7.9% of the total). The other branches of largest export weight posted notable decreases for Coke Plants & Oil Refining (-41.9%), Rubber Products (-31.3%), Iron and Steel Products (-27.0%) and Manufacture of Motor Vehicles (-21.7%), this being the branch with the highest volume of exports, 12.9% of the total. Other large branches, second and third in the ranking, which also accumulated year-on-year decreases are General Use Machinery, down 4.6%, and Metal Products, which fell by 3.1%.

A more detailed look reveals that, amongst the main export duty groups appeared: Passenger cars with fewer than 10 seats, down 51.1%, Vehicle parts and accessories, which decreased by 1.2%, and Goods transport vehicles, which fell by 38.3%; Refined petroleum oils dropped 36.0% and New rubber tyres were down 39.2%. On the other hand, there was a significant increase in Diesel and electric motor units for railway tracks and motorised trams (518.8%). These six groups accounted for 26.7% of total exports in August 2018, with a combined value of 412 million euros.

Five countries (Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States and the Netherlands) absorbed 53.6% of total exports from the Basque Country. Four of them belong to the EU-28, an entity that with 1,087.3 million exported accounts for 70.5% of our exports.

Analysing imports by branches of activity, it can be observed that the largest, Extraction and Petroleum Industries (29.2% of the total) saw a drop of 14.9%. There trend was also registered in the two next largest branches: General Use Machinery (-0.9%) and Iron and Steel Products (-7.1%). The extraordinary growth in Coke Plants & Oil Refining (706.1%) raised this branch of activity, last August, to the fourth position in the import ranking.

Over the first eight months of 2019 as a whole, foreign trade in goods in the Basque Country had a positive balance of 3,222 million euros

For the first eight months of 2019 as a whole, exports from the Basque Country (16,741.2 million) registered a decrease of 1.6% compared to the same period of the previous year, which translated into a reduction of 267.6 million euros. Energy exports were the reason for this drop, given that they were down 23.1%, whereas non-energy exports were up by 0.7%.

Accumulated imports for the Basque Country as a whole during the period in question amounted to 13,519 million euros. Looking at this figure in year-on-year terms we see that it represents 281.8 million more than that registered in the same period of 2018, which translates into an increase of 2.1%. Imports of Energy Products rose by 3.7% and those of Non-energy Products fell by 4.4%.

Foreign trade in goods in the Basque Country from January to August 2019 had a positive balance of 3,222 million euros, which is equivalent to a coverage rate of 123.8%; in 2018 this stood at 128.5%



Since 1990, France has held a prominent position as a destination for Basque exports, always occupying the first position in the export ranking of the Basque Country, except in 2017 when Germany snatched it away by 34 million euros, this country traditionally having held the second position. In 2018 France was in first place with 15.3% of the total exported (3,887 million), and in 2019 so far it has retained this position (15.7% of the total and almost 2,630 million euros). However, until 2017 its relative weight was greater than at present with percentages in relation to the total exported that fluctuated between 20.5% in 1990 and 15.6% in 2017. Germany (15.0% and 3,835 million) and the United States (8.3% and 2,118 million) followed France in the export ranking in 2018.

If we analyse the products that we export to France, we should point out, for 2018, that 159 products had an export value that was over one million euros. Standing out among these as main exported product (customs duty group to 4 digits) were Refined petroleum oils (512.2 million) with 13.2% of the total, followed, and in this order, by Hydraulic cement (298.0 million and 7.7%), Coke, bitumen and other waste from petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals (263.2 million and 6.8%), Iron or non-alloy steel sections (141.5 million and 3.6%) and Vehicle parts and accessories (127.7 million and 2.4%). These five products account for 34.5% of the total exports to France in 2018. In contrast, from January to August 2019 there was a notable change in the list of the most exported products: Refined petroleum oils continued to hold the first position, Vehicle parts and accessories rose from the fifth to second position and three new products placed among the top five: New rubber tyres, Petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals and Aluminium sheets and strips of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm.


During 2018, imports from France (1,914.3 million) accounted for 9.4% of the total, a percentage that is below the historical series average, which began in 1990 and stands at 13.2%, with periods (1990 to 2004) when it was between 19.1% and 12.8%. At present, the weight of French imports places France in second position in the import ranking, behind Germany (14.4%) with a difference in euros between the two countries of slightly more than 1,000 million.


Among the 135 products imported from France that have exceeded one million euros in 2018 were the five that appear at the top of the ranking, which were, in order of importance: Remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (785.4 million), Corn (231.6 million), Waste and scrap paper or cardboard for recycling (211.2 million), Flat, hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products of a width exceeding 599 mm (101.9 million) and Intermediate iron or non-alloy steel products (78.3 million). 73.6% of French imports in 2018 were concentrated in these five products (1,408.4 million euros). Some of these products continued to be among the most important in the accumulated total of the first eight months of 2019 like, for example, Remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel and Flat, hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products of a width exceeding 599 mm, which continued to hold the first and fourth position, respectively. Fresh or chilled fish showed a dramatic change in 2019, rising to second place in the provisional ranking with 53 million euros up to August 2019.

As a consequence of this double flow, export-import, always positive trade balances have been obtained since 1990. This pattern has been maintained up to the present, with the exception of 1992. In 2018 this positive balance reached nearly 1,973 million euros with a coverage rate of 203.1%; this rate has been over 200% since 2012. For the period of 2019 for which data is available (January-August) the trade surplus already stands at 1,438.1 million. This favourable balance with France is due to the fact that in the period 1990-2018 whilst imports easily doubled, exports even quintuplicated.

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: servicioprensa@eustat.es Tel: 945 01 75 62

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Total exports of goods from the Basque Country decreased by 8.9% in August 2019, and imports by 3.3%

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Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX)
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Agosto 2019
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