Italian economy switches into official trade surplus
ROME - Angence France-Presse
A man rests in a public fountain in front of retailer stores in Milan. Debt-hit Italian economy has welcomed a trade surplus mainly due to sale of refined oil products. AP photo
The Italian trade balance showed a surplus of 1.008 billion euros ($1.23 billion) in May from a deficit of 2.2 billion euros 12 months earlier, official data showed yesterday.
Exports rose by 4.8 percent, pulled by sales of energy products which rose by 22.4 percent, and imports fell by 4.5 percent owing to weak internal demand.
The sales of energy products concerned particularly a 21.6-percent rise in refined products to OPEC oil producing countries and to Turkey.
Italy is in the process of enacting deep reforms to put over-stretched public finances on a sustainable basis and to restructure the economy to raise competitiveness.
Exports outside the European Union rose by 14.1 percent. Exports to the United States rose by 40.3 percent, to oil producing countries in OPEC by 37.1 percent and to Japan by 21.2 percent.
In April, the trade balance over 12 months showed a deficit of 202 million euros from a deficit of 2.824 billion euros.
The trade balance has an important effect on a country’s ability to pay its way in the world, as measured by the overall balance of payments, and also on the potential of the economy to grow.
A trade surplus is a factor of growth, and countries in the eurozone, such as Italy, which are struggling to correct public finances and restructure their economies are aiming to strengthen their external trade balances.