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Economy in Brief

Italy's Trade Surplus Bounces Higher
by Robert Brusca  June 19, 2015

Italy's current account surplus is higher in April, rising to 4.79 billion euros from 3.46 billion euros in March. The surplus was last higher in February, but this is a very high surplus reading for Italy with February's value the only one higher since Italy joined the EMU.

Sequential growth rates for exports are expanding, underpinning the improvement in the current account. Italy's imports are gathering strength as well.

The month's spurt in the surplus is on the back of suddenly stronger exports. But there is also sustained export strength. Exports are growing much faster than imports over 12 months. The chart shows that, the month's spurt in the surplus aside, surplus growth has been flattening out. This month's spurt in the surplus seems to be the result of a one-off spurt in exports, not part of a trend. Yet, exports are continuing to outpace imports but with both at extremely high short-term growth rates.

The sequential growth rates for exports and imports show that exports and imports are gaining momentum. This is a good sign for Italy's overall growth. Stronger exports will help to boost Italy's GDP and stronger imports are a sign of improved and sustained domestic demand.

Export and import details show consistently strong year-over-year growth rates for export categories in the last two months. But this strength is nascent. Imports are less robust across categories.

Italy's trade trends are very encouraging. It looks as though the weak euro is helping to spur exports. Import revival points to a recovery in domestic demand. Italy's trade flows are volatile, but the message right now is a wholly positive one.

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