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Spain's foreign trade recovery takes hold: exports grow by 23.3% in the first half of 2021

Monthly foreign trade report, June 2021

Trade | 8/19/2021

  • The trade deficit in the first half of the year was 28.7% lower than in the same period in 2020
  • Exports in June 2021 increased by 22% year-on-year to €27.61 billion, an all-time high for a June

Spanish goods exports rose by 23.3% in the period from January-June 2021 compared to the same period last year and reached €152.961 billion, as shown by Customs declared trade data. Imports also increased by 20.3% to €158.358 billion. As a result, the trade deficit for the first six months of the year reached €5.397 billion, 28.7% lower than in the same period in 2020.

In June, the recovery of Spanish foreign trade strengthened. Imports and exports increased significantly compared to 2020 and also grew more moderately compared to 2019, says the Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez. During the first half of 2021, exports grew across the board, in the main sectors and to all destinations, while the trade deficit has been reduced..

Data for June 2021

In June, Spanish goods exports increased 22.0% over the same month in 2020, up to €27.61bn, an all-time high for a June. For their part, imports rose by 35.1% in year-on-year terms to €28.587bn, also a record high for that month. As a result, a trade deficit of €978 million was recorded in June 2021, compared to a surplus of €1.482bn recorded in the same month last year. The coverage ratio stood at 96.6%, 10.4 percentage points lower than in June 2020.

With respect to May 2021, seasonally and calendar-adjusted data, exports rose by 2.5% and imports by 4.3% (rates of 1.5% and 5.6% in the original series) in the last month.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, the rate of change remains positive: exports are up 10.7% compared to June 2019 and imports by 8.0% YoY.

The non-energy balance showed a surplus of €744 million (surplus of €2.074 billion in June 2020, provisional data) and the energy deficit increased by 190.8% to €1.722 billion.

Spain's year-on-year increase in exports in June (22.0%) is in line with that recorded in the EU27 (23.7% YoY) and the eurozone (24.1%).

The main positive contributions to the annual rate of change in exports came from chemicals, non-chemical semi-manufactures, capital goods and energy products.

In June 2021, exports to the European Union accounted for 62.9% of the total (62.7% in June 2020) and were up 22.4%. Those to the eurozone rose by 23.4% and those to the rest of the EU grew by 15.0%. Of the main partners, the increases in sales to Italy (41.3%), Portugal (20.2%) and France (15.7%) stand out. Finally, exports to third countries (non-EU) accounted for 37.1% of the total and rose by 21.1% year-on-year, with sales to the United Kingdom increasing by 12.2%.

Cumulative data from January to June 2021.

Spanish goods exports rose by 23.3% in the period from January-June with respect to the same period last year and reached €152.961bn. Imports increased by 20.3% to €158.358bn. As a result, the trade deficit for the first six months of the year reached €5.397bn, 28.7% lower than in the same period in 2020.

The coverage ratio – the ratio of exports to imports – stood at 96.6% (94.2% in January-June 2020, provisional data). In volume terms, exports increased by 18.2%, as prices, proxied by Unit Value Indices, rose by 4.3%. Imports rose by 15.0%, as prices increased by 4.6%.

The non-energy balance showed a surplus of €4.7 billion and the energy deficit increased by 29.7% to €10.098 billion.

The year-on-year growth of Spanish exports between January and June (23.3%) is higher than that of the EU27 (18.2%) and the eurozone (17.7%), as well as that of France (17.4% YoY), Germany (16.7%) and the United Kingdom (9.4%). Outside Europe, sales also grew in the US (23.2% YoY). (23.2% YoY), China (28.1%) and Japan (23.2%).

The main positive contributions to the annual rate of change of exports from January to June 2021 came from the capital goods sector, the automotive sector, chemicals and non-chemical semi-manufactures. In contrast, no sector contributed negatively in the period.

Exports to the European Union (61.8% of the total) increased by 26.1% in the first six months of the year. Sales to the eurozone (54.5% of the total) increased by 27.4% and those to the rest of the EU (7.2% of the total) grew by 17.2%.

Sales to third countries (38.2% of the total) grew by 18.9% in this period, with increases in exports to Oceania (55.3%), Asia excluding the Middle East (25.1%), Africa (22.6%), Latin America (21.9%), the Middle East (17.8%) and North America (14.7%).

The autonomous communities with the highest growth in exports were the Community of Madrid, Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha, while the only decrease was in the Canary Islands.

The full report and methodological note can be consulted at Trade Portal