EU trade balance back to a surplus of EUR 1 billion

August 28, 2023

In the second quarter of 2023, after six quarters of registering a deficit, the EU trade balance was back to a surplus level due to declining energy prices.

Recent trade data shows that in the second quarter of 2023, exports fell by 2.0 % and imports by 3.5 %, leading to a small trade surplus of EUR 1 billion. This shows a clear improvement from the EUR 155 billion deficit registered in the third quarter of 2022, the highest deficit level since 2019.

The decrease in extra-EU imports in the second quarter of 2023 was related to a 15.6 % drop in energy and a 10.9 % decrease in raw materials, compared with the first quarter of 2023. As for exports, all sectors saw a decline, except for machinery & vehicles (+2.5 %). The largest export decreases were for energy (-22.5 %) and raw materials (-9.3 %).

In the second quarter of 2023, the EU had a trade surplus of €15.6 billion for food, drinks and tobacco and €48.5 billion for chemicals.

In the second quarter of 2023, the trade balance for machinery and vehicles increased for the third consecutive quarter, reaching EUR 52.4 billion. The value is still not close to the highest value registered in the first quarter of 2019 (EUR 60.7 billion).

As for energy, the trade balance improved from a deficit of EUR -115.3 billion in the first quarter of the year to EUR -100.0 billion in the second quarter.

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Methodological notes:

  • The figures are based on seasonally adjusted data.