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Press release 24/04/2019


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Basque Country exports increased by 3.1% and imports by 19.4% in February 2019

Motor vehicles (-15.2%) and products derived from oil refining (-38.1%) slowed down Basque exports once again

In February 2019 there was a 3.1% rise in exports of goods from the Basque Country, in year-on-year terms, according to EUSTAT data. They totalled 2,064.7 million euros compared to 2,002.2 million in the same month of the previous year. Exports of Energy products were down 27.5% and non-energy product exports performed positively with growth of 6.0%.

Gipuzkoa is the province that registered the greatest increase in exports, with 19.0%. In Bizkaia exports were up 2.6%, despite the drop in energy exports (-29.7%), and in Álava they fell by 10.9%, as a result of Transport Material again registering a decrease this month (-17.4%).


Imports of goods to the Basque Country, for their part, experienced an increase of 19.4%, reaching a total of 1,792.8 million euros, given that energy imports were up 39.4% and non-energy imports 13.5%.

Imports increased in the three provinces; in Gipuzkoa by 5.5%, in Alava by 11.9%, and in Bizkaia by 28.8%, which is the province that marks the trend for the Basque Country overall as it accounts for 57.1% of all imports for the autonomous region (1,024.1 million, of which 479.6 are destined towards the purchase of energy products).

Analysing branches of activity and in relation to exports, of particular relevance this month was the fall in products related to Manufacture of motor vehicles (-15.2%). This was the branch with the highest volume of exports (23.2% of the total), which saw a decrease of 85.4 million euros compared to the same month of the previous year, a drop of 5 percentage points in relation to exports as a whole. Products derived from Oil Refining also registered a significant decrease, with a drop of 38.1% (57.9 million less). These decreases were compensated by an increase in exports of Rubber Products (84.5% and 52.7 million more) and Other transport Material (102.0% and 64.4 million more). Álava accounted for the bulk of exports of Motor Vehicles, Gipuzkoa Other transport Material and Bizkaia, Oil Refining and Rubber Products.

A more detailed look reveals that, amongst the main export duty groups appeared: Passenger cars with between 5 and 10 seats, Vehicle parts and accessories, Goods transport vehicles, New rubber tyres, Petroleum oils and Diesel and electric motor units for railway tracks and motorised trams. These groups accounted for 34.0% of the total in February, with a combined value of 701.2 million euros.

This month four countries (France, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States) are once again our main clients, absorbing 44.7% of total exports from the Basque Country. Three of them belong to the EU-28, an entity that accounts for 70.0% of exports.

Analysing imports by branches of activity, it can be observed that the largest, Extraction and Petroleum Industries (24.4% of the total), saw an increase of 26.2%. Growth, however, occurred in the sections that follow this by order of importance, namely: Iron and Steel Products (21.4%), Motor Vehicles (4.0%) and General use machinery (10.2%).

Five countries (Germany, France, Russia, China and Mexico) were, in this order, our main suppliers of goods, accounting for 42.5% of total imports to the Basque Country. Two of them belong to the EU-28, where 53.6% of imports come from.


In 2018, China secured its position at eleventh place in the export ranking, due to the 469.7 million euros that were exported there. In imports as a whole it stood in third position, with 1,148.8 million. This ranking was topped by Germany (2,919.4 million) and France (1,914.3 million). Since 2003, China has appeared amongst the fifteen countries that account for the majority of exports from the Basque Country, having occupied ninth place on five occasions, in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Its position in the import ranking is even better, given that since 1993 it has been amongst the top 15 positions, registering considerable growth from 2001, when it occupied tenth place, to 2018 when it moved into third place, with a coverage rate of 40.9%. This rate contrasts with that of Germany (131.4%) and France (203.1%).


In 2018, 35.9% of Basque Country exports to China were concentrated in five products:

· Seamless tubes and hollow profiles made of iron or steel (47.3 million)

· Taps, valves and similar appliances for pipes (36.5 million).

· Copper waste and scrap (29.0 million).

· Machining centres, fixed and multi-station machines for working metal (28.3 million).

· Parts and accessories for machine tools (27.4 million)

The technological nature of total exports, during 2018, was, in 70.3% of cases, “high or medium-high”; a percentage slightly higher than the average of the last twenty years (69.8%); and clearly “high” in 8.9% of the cases (“average” 7.0%).

China accounted for almost a quarter (22.5%) of exports to Asia, calculated at 2,091 million euros.


The five products that stand out amongst out imports from China are:

· Taps, valves and similar appliances for pipes (57.2 million).

· Bars and profiles of other steel alloys and hollow bars for drilling (56.1 million).

· Telephones and other apparatus for transmission or reception of voice, images or data (38.2 million).

· Vehicle parts and accessories (33.2 million).

· Hinges, mountings, fittings and similar articles of base metal (30.6 million).

During 2018 the technological level of Chinese imports was “high or medium-high” in 49.3% of cases, a proportion that exceeds the average of the last twenty years, which stands at 45.2%. Imports with a clearly “high” technological level accounted for 9.9% of the total and the average in the aforementioned period is 9.5%.

During the past year 14.4% of imports came from Asia and of these almost 40% (39.3%) from China.

In conclusion, in 2018 both Chinese imports and exports gained importance within Basque Country foreign trade, although the former exceeded the latter, consequently generating a negative trade balance, which translated into a coverage rate of 40.9% that, on the other hand, was close to the average of the last 20 years (39.6%).


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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Basque Country exports increased by 3.1% and imports by 19.4% in February 2019

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Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX)
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Febrero 2019
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