Exports and imports for January 2011 at current prices rose by 28.4 percent and 30.9 percent, year-on-year, respectively, according to preliminary figures from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). The trade balance ended up with a surplus of Kč 15.7 billion, which was Kč 0.4 billion higher than last year. Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted exports and imports rose by 5.2 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively, compared to December 2010.
“In line with our expectations, foreign trade continued to strengthen in the first month of this year. A pleasant surprise is the strong monthly increase in exports. The greatest factor impacting on the January results, as well as in the last year, was the continued recovery of the global economy,” Deputy Minister of Industry Trade and Trade Milan Hovorka said in an e-mailed statement.
“For Czech exports, the strong economic activity in the euro area and in particular the performance of the German economy is significant. Leading indicators, moving for several months at record heights, suggest a further continuation of this positive trend. On the other hand, increasing commodity prices may bring unpleasant complications,” Hovorka said.
‘External demand is still strong, and export activity should, despite an expected decrease in car exports, once again deliver double-digit growth.’
Komerční banka analyst Miroslav Frayer said in a market comment that the foreign trade result was higher than the market consensus. “From a month-on-month perspective and after a seasonal adjustment, the commodity balance significantly worsened, which was offset by an improvement in the ex-commodity balance,” he said.
“The situation should remain favorable this year. External demand is still strong, and export activity should, despite an expected decrease in car exports, once again deliver double-digit growth of around 11 percent. Lower solar-panel imports should also prove positive,” Frayer said.
“The commodity balance is likely to deteriorate further, but to a lesser extent than in 2010. Overall, foreign trade could bounce back toward the Kč 150 billion level after last year’s 122.8 billion. The record was hit in 2009 at Kč 149.6 billion,” he concluded.
Improved balance with EU states
The trade balance with EU member states showed a Kč 58.7 billi0n surplus, which was Kč 9.9 billion higher, year on year. The trade gap with non-EU countries widened by Kč 9.5 billion to Kč 43.0 billion. The trade surplus with Germany rose by Kč 3.1 billion, with Austria by Kč 1.9 billion, with France by Kč 1.9 billion and with Slovakia by Kč 1.1 billion. On the other hand, the trade gap deepened with China by Kč 9.9 billion and Russia by Kč 1.1 billion, according to the ČSÚ.
Compared to last year, the surplus grew in machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles and crude inedible materials except fuels. The deficit shrank in food and live animals. On the other hand, the trade gap increased in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, and ‘chemicals and related products, the ČSÚ said.
The trade balance deteriorated in manufactured goods classified chiefly by material, as a surplus turned into a deficit. The surplus in beverages and tobacco remained on the same level as in January 2010.
|Source: ČSÚ, in millions of crowns at current prices|