Italy’s Foreign Trade and Import Prices Report – August 2023

In August 2023, both inbound and outbound international trade saw positive trends, with exports experiencing a more robust growth (+5.1%) compared to imports (+3.8%). Monthly export growth was fueled by increased sales to both the EU (+3.5%) and non-EU countries (+6.9%).

In the June-August 2023 quarter, exports showed a slight increase (+0.3%), while imports saw a reduction of 2.0% compared to the previous quarter.

On a year-on-year basis in August 2023, the export sector grew by 2.5% in monetary terms (recovering from -7.7% in July) and 3.4% in volume. The value of exports increased by 8.9% to non-EU markets but contracted by 3.7% to the EU. Imports, on the other hand, experienced a yearly decline of 20.9% in value, with a more significant drop in non-EU countries (-32.6%) compared to the EU (-6.6%). Import volumes, however, showed a moderate reduction (-2.3%).

Key sectors contributing to the annual export growth include transport vehicles excluding cars (+55.4%), machinery and unspecified equipment (+11.8%), food, beverages, and tobacco (+6.3%), and automobiles (+18.5%). Sectors experiencing annual declines include basic metals and metal products excluding machinery and equipment (-11.1%), chemicals (-12.9%), and refined petroleum and coke products (-8.0%).

Leading contributors to the annual export increase were the United States (+34.0%), OPEC countries (+14.7%), and Switzerland (+8.0%). However, exports to Germany (-3.9%), the United Kingdom (-8.7%), and France (-4.1%) saw reductions.

In the first eight months of 2023, exports showed a year-on-year growth of 2.3%, driven by increased sales in machinery and unspecified equipment (+11.2%), automobiles (+26.0%), food, beverages, and tobacco (+7.6%), transport vehicles excluding cars (+10.1%), and pharmaceutical, chemical, and botanical articles (+7.3%).

The estimated trade balance in August 2023 stands at +2.070 million euros (compared to -9.508 million in August 2022). The energy deficit (-4.541 million) decreased to almost a third of the value recorded a year earlier (-11.836 million), while the surplus in non-energy product exchange increased from 2.329 million in August 2022 to 6.612 million in August 2023.

Import prices in August 2023 decreased by 0.3% on a monthly basis and by 12.7% on a yearly basis (compared to -11.4% in July).