By Maëlle Alquezar
Provisional data released in May by the National Statistical Institute of Portugal revealed that Portugal’s exports slightly increased by 0.3% to 11,601 million euros (i.e. £9.92 million) in the first quarter of 2013 while they increased by 5.6% in 2012. However, imports significantly dropped by 7.2% to 13,466 million euros (i.e. £11.5 million) in the same period. The strong decline in imports resulted in a significant decrease of Portugal ’s trade deficit from 2,940 million euros (i.e. £2.513 million) in the first three months of 2012 to the current 1,865 million euros (i.e. 1.594 million).
Due to the EU recession, exports to the EU decreased by 1.4% in the first quarter. Despite this decline, the EU remains the main market for Portugal’s exports. With regards to imports, they decreased by 9% in the EU while they dropped by only 2.5% outside the member states. Fuel is the main contributor to the increase in exports in the quarter as the sale of goods such as fuels and lubricants soared by 23.9%. On the other hand, the transport equipment and accessories declined by 14.2%. Fuels and lubricants were purchased less abroad while the purchasing of food and beverages outside the country grew by 4.4%.
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