Extra-EU exports falling in December. But for the first time it exceeds 300 billion

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The explosion in gas prices in 2022 produced the worst result ever, with a trade deficit towards Moscow of over 21 billion euros, the largest for a single country. But the choice to eliminate gas purchases from Russia has now produced sensational results, with imports plummeting by over 20 billion euros from 27 the previous year. Which allowed Italy to close the year with a surplus of almost 600 million euros.

The numbers in detail

In December 2023, a slight cyclical increase in exports (+0.9%) and a decrease in imports (-2.5%) are estimated for trade with non-EU27 countries.
The monthly increase in exports is mainly due to the greater sales of intermediate goods (+4.6%); sales of capital goods also increased (+1.3%) while sales of non-durable consumer goods decreased (-3.0%); energy exports are stationary. On the import side, with the exception of non-durable consumer goods (+4.1%), there are cyclical reductions for all groupings; the largest for capital goods (-7.9%).
In the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the previous one, exports grew by 2.3%; the increase concerns all groupings and is higher for durable consumer goods (+5.4%) and intermediate goods (+3.4%). In the same period, imports recorded modest growth (+0.2%), explained by greater purchases of non-durable consumer goods (+1.2%) and intermediate goods (+0.8%).
On an annual basis, in December 2023, exports fell by 7.2% (it was -3.4% in November). Excluding durable consumer goods (+0.4%), the decline is widespread and is larger for energy (-13.1%), non-durable consumer goods (-10.6%) and intermediate goods (- 7.8%). Imports recorded a trend contraction of 26.8%, contributed by the reduction in purchases of all groups and, in particular, of energy (-43.5%) and intermediate goods (-20.6%).
In December 2023, the trade balance with non-EU27 countries is positive and equal to +8,335 million (+4,007 million in the same month of 2022). The energy deficit (-4,911 million) is significantly reduced compared to the previous year (-9,240 million). The surplus in the trade of non-energy products is equal to +13,245 million (+13,247 million in December 2022).
In December 2023, except for OPEC countries (+26.5%), there were reductions on an annual basis in exports to all the main non-EU27 partner countries; the largest concern China, Japan (both -16.6%) and the United Kingdom (-10.0%).
Except from the United States (+12.8%), imports from all the main non-EU27 partner countries are decreasing on an annual basis. Purchases from Russia recorded the largest annual decline (-77.4%); There were also marked reductions in purchases from ASEAN countries (-41.9%) and OPEC countries (-39.1%).


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