Foreign trade back in surplus, but disappointing again

The new production capacities in automotive industry are expected to reverse this trend soon, analyst predicts.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Although May foreign trade statistics suggest that foreign trade was in surplus again. After April ended in a surprising deficit, observers were rather disappointed by its performance.

The total export of goods amounted to €6.86 billion, down by 0.2 percent year-on-year. The total import of goods rose by 3.8 percent y-o-y to €6.73 billion. The foreign trade balance was in surplus, amounting to €133.1 million, down by €261.5 million compared to last May, the Statistics Office data suggests.

The most traded Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) section was machinery and transport equipment, with a share of 62.4 percent of the total export and 50.4 percent of the total import, Statistics Office informed.

Related articleThe negative April numbers in Slovakia's foreign trade come as a surprise to analysts Read more 

“Foreign trade in May was disappointing again,” Ľubomír Koršňák, an analyst with UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, wrote in a memo. “Although it returned to surplus after a surprising April deficit, it failed to fulfil our optimistic expectations and significantly lagged behind last year’s results, despite the positive impact of the new carmaker on exports.”

Problems with turnover

Neither the problems with contaminated Russian oil helped improve foreign trade surplus, he added.

Though the problems contributed to the decrease in imports, when combined with the maintenance of production machines in the biggest Slovak oil refinery, Slovnaft, the drop in oil-related exports was more significant than the drop in imports. The foreign trade balance in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials category decreased the total surplus by about €100 million compared to last May, the analyst explained.

Apart from the May foreign trade balance, the turnover was disappointing in May, with both exports and imports decreasing, Koršnák continued.

Despite its weaker performance in the past few months, he still expects foreign trade surplus to increase this year, thanks to the boost from the automotive industry and its new production capacities, represented mostly by Nitra-based Jaguar Land Rover.

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