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Press release 23/07/2019


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Total exports of goods from the Basque Country grew by 9.9% in May 2019

Non-energy exports increased by 13.9% in May 2019 and by 3.3% over the first five months of the year

In May 2019 there was a 9.9% rise in exports of goods from the Basque Country, in year-on-year terms, according to EUSTAT data. They totalled 2,440 million euros compared to 2,219 million in the same month of the previous year. Exports of Energy products were down 24.9% and non-energy product exports experienced considerable growth of 13.9%.

Gipuzkoa is the province that registered the best performance, with an increase in exports of 31.2%; in Bizkaia exports rose by 3.9% but in Álava they were down 1.3%.


Imports of goods to the Basque Country experienced a 10.1% rise, reaching a total of 1,903 million euros. Energy imports increased by 20.3% and Non-energy imports were up 6.7%.

At provincial level, in Bizkaia imports grew by 18.0%, in Gipuzkoa they were up 11.9% and in Álava they fell by 9.9%.

Analysing exports by branches of activity (A86), there were decreases in the three largest: exports of Motor vehicles fell by 1.3%, General Use Machinery by 2.8% and Iron and Steel products by 5.2%. The 52.3% decline registered in Coke Plants & Oil Refining, a traditionally large activity branch, also stood out. By contrast, it is also worth mentioning the increase in exports of Metal Products and Other Transport Material, with rises of 18.7% and 152.2%, respectively. Álava accounted for the fall in Iron and Steel products and Gipuzkoa the rise in Other Transport Material.

A more detailed look reveals that in May the ten main export duty groups accounted for 40.4% of exports, with a combined value of 986.2 million euros. Amongst them, special mention should be made of Passenger cars with less than 10 seats (-13.3%), Goods transport vehicles (25.5%), Vehicle parts and accessories (-7.5%), Diesel and electric motor units for railway tracks and motorised trams (1,526.0%) and New Rubber Tyres (168.2%).

This month five countries (Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States and Italy) became our main clients, absorbing 48.7% of total exports from the Basque Country. Four of them belong to the EU-28, an entity that with 1,615.4 million exported accounts for 66.2% of our exports.

Analysing imports by branches of activity (A86), it can be observed that the largest, Extraction and Petroleum Industries (23.7% of the total) saw an increase of 12.1% compared to the same month of the previous year. However, the subsequent groups in terms of size experienced decreases, as was the case for Iron and Steel products (-2.6%), Motor vehicles (-8.5%), and General Use Machinery (-3.6%).

Over the first five months of 2019 as a whole, foreign trade in goods in the Basque Country had a positive balance of 2,048.9 million euros

For the first five months as a whole, and for exports from the Basque Country, an increase of 1.9% was registered compared to the same period of the previous year, which translated into 207.3 million euros more. The total amount of exports in this period was 10,845.7 million. Non-energy exports rose by 3.3%, and energy exports fell by 11.6%.

Accumulated imports for the Basque Country as a whole during the period in question amounted to 8,796.9 million euros. The year-on-year comparison of this figure reveals that it is 554.3 million euros higher than that registered in the same period of the previous year, an increase of 6.7%, with growth in both non-energy imports (7.0%) and energy imports (5.9%).

BASQUE COUNTRY FOREIGN TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES IN 2018: exports grew by 16.3% and imports were up 13.5%

Exports to the United States in 2018 reached 2,118.4 million euros, with an increase of 16.3% (297.7 million more) compared to the previous year. This figure puts the United States in third place in the export ranking of the Basque Country with 8.3% of total exports; since 1990 the United States have occupied one of the top six positions in the ranking and since 2008 it has remained in third position, except in 2012 when it came fourth.

Imports from the United States in 2018 stood at 504.5 million euros, with a rise of 13.5% compared to 2017. This total amount of imports means that the USA occupies thirteenth place in the import ranking, accounting for 2.5% of the total (it has been in the top 14 since 1990).

2018 closed with a positive trade balance for the Basque Country, amounting to 1,614 million euros and achieving a very good coverage rate of 419.9% (if this rate is over 100, exports exceed imports). It is worth mentioning that the coverage rates of our reference markets, France and Germany, reached 203.1% and 131.4%, respectively.


Five products (4 digit duty groups) accounted for over half (55.8%) of our exports to the United States in 2018:

. Refined petroleum oils (814.9 million)

. Seamless tubes and hollow profiles made of iron or steel (153.7 million)

. Electric generating sets and rotary converters (78.8 million)

. Passenger cars with less than 10 seats (77.5 million)

. Turbo-reactors, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines, and their parts and components (57.4 million)


A more detailed analysis of products (8 digit duty groups) reveals that in first place is Unleaded 95 octane petrol (776.8 million), which, with a significant difference, has become the most exported product. This has been the case since 2012, although exports of this product in previous years were null. Within this sector, Heavy fuel oil (24.8 million) was also an important export. Other notable products were Petrol vehicles with less than 10 seats (77.5 million), Artificial graphite (28.3 million), which started to be exported in 2018, Wines with a Protected Designation of Origin “Rioja” (20.8 million), with a large exporting trend that began in 1995, and Long firearms for large game hunting or sports shooting (14.8 million).

As for the technological level of exported products, exports with a “high” technological level increased from 0.7% in 1990 to 3.4% in 2018. Exports of "medium-high” technological level rose from 18.9% to 31.0%, and those at a “medium-low” level fell from 76.3% in 1990 to 60.1% in 2018. 4.6% were at a “low” technological level and 0.9% were of “No” technological level.

The United States accounted for more than half (51.6%) of exports to America, which were calculated at 4,106 million euros.


The five products-groups that stood out (47.5% of the total) among our imports from the United States were:

. Soya beans, whether or not broken (109.2 million)

. Petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals (53.9 million)

. Nickel bars, profiles and wires (36.1 million)

. Slag, ash and waste (except those from iron and steel products) containing non-ferrous metals (21.4 million)

. Refined petroleum oils (18.9 million)


A more detailed analysis of products (8 digit duty groups) shows that Soya beans not destined for sowing (109.2 million) occupied first place. This is the most imported product, which was the case for the first time in 2018. This product is followed by Petroleum oils (53.9 million), which also has a low technological level. Within this sector, Sulphurless diesel (18.9 million) and Natural gas (10.9 million) were also widely imported. Other significant products were Bars and profiles (36.1 million) and Petrol motors (> 1,500cm3) for passenger vans, minibuses or buses (12.6 million).

During 2018 the technological level of imports from the United States was “High or medium-high” in 29.4% of cases. Imports with a clearly “high” technological level accounted for 8.4% of the total, whereas those with “no technological level” made up the majority of imports with 41.9%. This percentage reaches 51.2% if we add to it “low” technological level imports.

During the past year 17.1% of imports from America (2,952.5 million) came from the United States.

In conclusion, in 2018 both exports to and imports from the United States gained importance within Basque Country foreign trade, although the former exceeded the latter, consequently generating a positive trade balance, which translated into a coverage rate of 419.9% that is reached by very few countries in the European Union, with the exception of Croatia (428.7%), Greece (482.1%), Malta (524.3%) and Estonia (599.0%)

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 grew by 9.9% in May 2019

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Foreign trade statistics (ECOMEX)
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Mayo 2019
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