The Slovak Statistics Office (ŠÚ), based on more accurate data, also revised the surplus for the first quarter (Q1, by €46 million). Thus, the 12-month surplus of foreign trade increased in March from 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent of GDP.
The more significant correction of the lower March figures was in accordance with our expectations, Ľubomír Koršňák, macroeconomic markets analyst of the UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, wrote on March 9.
Even more positive than the overdraft itself was the recovery of turnover in foreign trade. Both exports and imports were marked by a strong correction, virtually totally annulling the March losses. In April, exports increased by 3.0 percent against the previous month (seasonally adjusted, according to UniCredit Bank). They returned to black numbers in year-on-year comparison, higher by 6.4 percent against 2015. Thus, they seem to also confirm the hypothesis about Easter falling at the end of month (and quarter) having impacted the balance, at least partially. This would also explain the weaker growth dynamics of exports. It seems that the automotive industry remains to be the main driving force behind exports.
Also imports grew dynamically in April, according to Koršňák, by 4.1 percent (seasonally adjusted) and their y-o-y growth was revived, too – increasing by 3.9 percent compared to last year. The post-Easter stocking of stores with goods seems to be behind this dynamic growth, as well as stronger consumer imports. Nominally, also the recovering oil prices on global markets increased the amount of imports.
The outlook is for the foreign trade surpluses to gradually grow and then stabilise in the following months – around 4.5 percent of GDP, Koršňák concluded.