The trade deficit of Spain has reached 33,840 million euros in 2018, which is 36.8% more than a year before, despite the new record of exports, that have moderated growth to 2.9%, below the record of imports (+ 5.6%).
This has been detailed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and the Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez, during the presentation of the 2018 foreign trade balance and the axis of action of the Government in matters of internationalization, strategic sectors and opening of new markets.
The increase in the trade deficit in 2018 has occurred despite the new record of exports, which have reached 285,024 million euros, 2.9% more than the previous year, although it was below the record of imports, which stood at 318,864 million euros, 5.6%.
Of the total deficit of 33,840 million, more than 25,000 million have corresponded to the energy deficit, which grew by 21.3% due to the rise in oil prices during the first three quarters of last year, although Méndez has indicated that the drop in prices in recent months yields "positive" expectations for the energy balance .
The coverage rate stood at 89.4% last year, below that of 2017 (91.3%), but 24 points higher than the minimum registered in 2007 (65%), which «Shows the export drive and the strength of the sector in the last 10 years», Méndez underlined. In addition, the base of regular export companies rose 2.4% to 51,768, accumulating seven consecutive years upward, which accounted for a total of 204,196 exporters.
According to detailed Mendez, in the first three quarters of 2018 foreign direct investment has increased 75% in gross terms and up 150% in net terms. Thus, the gross investment reached 40,621 million and the net investment reached 33,959 million.
Méndez highlighted that Spain maintained the dynamics of growth of the foreign sector in 2018 despite an international context marked by «Many uncertainties», Such as the Brexit, the increase in the price of crude oil, the decrease in China and the end of some tailwinds, together with the tendency to slow down the world economy and trade.
«Spain is still an attractive market for foreign investors, which highlights the importance of infrastructure and human talent ", emphasized Méndez, who stressed that the opening of the Spanish economy continues to grow and companies continue to diversify in search of new markets outside the EU.
Moderation of exports
Regarding exports, Méndez has valued the new record, although he has acknowledged that its growth has moderated. 65.6% corresponded to exports from the EU (+ 2.6%); 51.5% went to the euro area (+ 2.7%) and 34.4% of the total to non-EU destinations (+ 3.3%).
The main destinations worldwide in terms of contribution to the annual variation rate were France (0.5 points), Portugal (0.4 points), Algeria (0.3 points) and Italy (0.2 points), while the most negative were Turkey (-0.3 points), Germany (-0.1 points), United Arab Emirates (-0.1 points) and Jordan (-0.1 points).
By sectores, energy products stood out (+ 15.1%), against the drop in exports from the automotive sector, with 1.5%, the only one that reduced its exports due to lower sales to Germany, Brexit and Turkey , although Maroto has qualified that the manufacturing data have remained record.
Thus, the main sector in the matter of export of merchandise has been the capital goods (20% of the total, 1.1% more year-on-year), followed by food, beverages and tobacco (16.1%, 0.2% more), automobile (15.6%, 1.5% less) and chemical products ( 14.3%, 5.1% more).
The sectors that contributed the most they have been those of energy products (1.1 points), chemical products (0.7 points), non-chemical semimanufactures (0.6 points) and equipment goods (0.2 points), compared to the automobile (-0.2) points).
By autonomous communities, the one that experienced the highest variation rate was Navarra (+ 12.7%), followed by Cantabria (+ 11.2%) and Canarias (+ 9.8%), while the only three regions in which they fell were number of exports were Castilla y León (-2.1%), Comunidad de Madrid (-1.1%) and Aragón (-0.9%).
Increase in trade deficit
As for imports, those from the EU have accounted for 53.8% of the total, with 3.4% more, while purchases from euro area countries accounted for 43.4% (+ 3.3%) and for EU countries not belonging to the euro zone, 10.4% (+ 3.8%).
Imports from non-EU countries They have risen 8.4% last year, up to 46.2% of the total. The main suppliers in Spain, Germany and France, with a weight of 12.6% and 10.8%, increased by 3% and 3.4%, respectively.
Single In December, Spanish exports of goods fell by 3.7%, up to 21,166.7 million, while imports rose 1.6% year-on-year to 24,414.1 million. Thus, the trade balance showed a deficit of 3,247.4 million, an increase of 58.4% compared to the same month last year. The coverage rate stood at 86.7%, 4.8 percentage points less at the inter-annual level.
For her part, the minister has reviewed the axes of the internationalization policy, based on the Internationalization Strategy 2017-2027, which goes through the support adapted to companies, innovation through promoting technology, the brand and digitalization of processes in companies, the development of human capital, a common commercial policy and the coordination of public-private actions.
The head of Industry, Commerce and Tourism has advanced that "in the coming days" will be presented the Biennial Plan 2019-2020 that seek to boost the internationalization of the Spanish economy and is structured around four axes: increase the base of regular export companies, diversify destinations, increase the added value of exports and increase foreign investment.