In March 2020, exports and imports of goods recorded nominal year-on-year growth rates of -13.0% and -11.9%, respectively (+0.8% and +3.5% in February 2020, in the same order). The decreases in exports and in imports of Transport equipment (-33.5% and -38.4%, respectively), mainly Passenger motor cars in exports and Other transport equipment (aircraft) in imports, were noteworthy. In March, Food and beverages also stood out, as the sole category of products that registered increases in both exports (+3.8%) and imports (+6.7%).
Excluding Fuels and lubricants, exports and imports decreased by 13.3% and by 12.9%, respectively (-1.1% and +3.7%, in the same order, in February 2020).
The trade balance deficit in goods decreased by EUR 151 million when compared to the same month of 2019, reaching EUR 1,586 million in March 2020. Excluding Fuels and lubricants, the trade balance stood at EUR -1,155 million, corresponding to a decrease of EUR 144 million in the trade deficit vis-à-vis March 2019.
In the 1st quarter 2020, exports and imports of goods decreased by 3.0% and by 4.0% respectively, compared to the 1st quarter of 2019 (+3.2% and +0.3% in the same order, in the quarter ended in February 2020).
The information in this press release, regarding the month of March, already partially reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in both the performance of the economic activity and the quantity of primary information available in the compilation of the results presented. In spite of the difficulties, we ask for the best collaboration by firms, households, and public entities in answering the requests to obtain information. The quality of official statistics depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.