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Press Release 24/02/2016


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Exports from the Basque Country fell by 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016

The balance for 2016 closed with a positive foreign trade balance that has increased since 2015, registering a surplus in excess of 6 billion euros

Exports from the Basque Country posted a nominal decrease of 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to EUSTAT data. They stood at 5.530 billion euros compared to 5.728 billion the previous year. Exports of both energy and non-energy products registered downturns of 1.9% and 3.6%, respectively, this quarter.

Imports, for their part, posted a rise of 0.1% in the final quarter of 2016, going from 4.175 to 4.177 billion euros, as a direct result of the increase of 3.7% in energy products. Meanwhile, imports of other products fell by 1.1%.

Evolution of the foreign trade of the Basque Country.  Thousands of euros. Fourth quarter of 2016
Source: Eustat. Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX)

The net balance was positive and showed a trade surplus of 1.353 billion euros, with a coverage rate of exports over imports of 132.4%. If energy products are excluded, the non-energy trade balance registered a surplus of 1.853 billion. The non-energy coverage rate stood at 158.7%.

Exports destined for the European Union were down 5.2%, compared to the same period of 2015, representing 64.1% of the total exported. Special mention should be made of the increases in exports to Portugal (2.7%) and Belgium (2.4%). However, there were declines in exports to Germany (-4.2%), France (-6.8%), the United Kingdom (-12.2%) and Italy (-16.6%). Outside the EU28, it is worth mentioning the increases in exports to Morocco (66.8%), China (28.4%) and Mexico (15.0%).

Imports from the European Union fell by 6.6%, largely as a consequence of the decreases registered in imports from France (-8.9%), the Netherlands (-18.3%) and the United Kingdom (-32.0%). Those from Germany remained stable (0.1%), whilst imports from Ireland rose by 3.5%. From the rest of the world, there were significant increases in energy related imports from Iraq (242.6%), Mexico (99.2%) and Russia (21.4%). The United States also posted an increase (14.1%), though there was a drop of 13.9% in imports from China.

By customs duty groups, and in relation to exports, special mention should be made of the downturn in Metals & Manufactured (-12.2%), Electrical Material (-8.3%) and Mineral Products (-3.1%). On the other hand,Transport Materialposted a rise of 4.2%. Analysing imports, it is worth mentioning the increases in Electrical Material (7.5%) and Mineral Products (1.2%), and the decreases in Metals & Manufactured (-6.1%) and Transport Material (-4.9%).

By province, Álava saw a rise in exports of 5.0%, mainly due to the increase in Transport Material (16.2%). Imports to Álava registered a drop of 4.2%.

Exports from Bizkaia fell by 2.8% as a result of the decrease in Metals & Manufactured (-7.4%) and Transport Material (-14.5%), among others. Imports were up 1.2%, with Electrical Materialposting significant growth (22.1%).

Gipuzkoa registered the highest downturn in exports in the three provinces (-11.2%), as a result of decreases in its three key customs duty groups, Transport Material (7.6%), Electrical Material (-14.1%), and Metals & Manufactured (-15.8%). However, imports increased by 2%, with Paper and Manufactured posting a significant rise of 29.9%.


In 2016, both exports from and imports to the Basque Country fell. Exports were down 1.6% and imports 8%, but, following the pattern initiated in 2013, with a higher foreign trade balance than the previous year and a surplus of 6.112 billion euros (1,662 more than in 2013).

Exports stood at 21.596 billion in 2016, that is to say, almost 360 million less than in 2015, which is a decrease of 1.6%. On the other hand, exports of non-energy products remained positive, posting an increase of 1.7%.

Imports stood at 15.484 billion euros, a fall of 1.338 billion on 2015, representing an 8% decrease. If non-energy imports are taken into account, we find they have remained stable (0.2%).

Euskal AEko ondasun kanpo-merkataritzaren  bilakaera. Milaka eurotan. 2016
Iturria: Eustat. Kanpo-merkataritzaren estatistika (KAMEE)

By province, the trends both trade flows varied in 2016. Both flows grew in Álava and Gipuzkoa, whereas the opposite occurred in Bizkaia. Exports increased in Álava by 15.1%. Exports were down by 11.7% in Bizkaia and by 2.6% in Gipuzkoa. As regards imports, Álava was up by 12.3%, whereas Bizkaia fell by 15.4% and Gipuzkoa by 6.2%.

By geographical area, an increase of 0.7% was registered in exports to the European Union. However, there was an 8.1% decrease in imports from the European Union. Exports to Belgium (11.9%) and Germany (4.4%) rose significantly, as did imports from Germany (9.5%) and Italy (3.5%). There was a fall in imports from France (-8.9%) and a marked decrease in those from the United Kingdom (-51.7%).

Regarding other countries, there were increases in exports to Morocco (43.7%), China (20.0%), Turkey (9.0%) and Mexico (6.6%), and a fall in exports to the United States (-10.5%). As regards the opposite trade flow, there was an increase in Russian energy imports (33.4%) and an 11.1% fall in those from China.

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Instituto Vasco de Estadística C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: servicioprensa@eustat.eus Tlf: 945 01 75 62 Further press releases on Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX) of the Basque Country Database on Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX) of the Basque Country

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Exports from the Basque Country fell by 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016

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