In April 2020, exports and imports of goods recorded nominal year-on-year growth rates of -39.8% and -39.1%, respectively (-12.7% and -11.6% in March 2020, in the same order). Reflecting the constraints on the economic activity determined by the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all product categories showed significant decreases, with exports and imports of Transport equipment standing out (-77.6% and -75.2%, respectively). Food and beverages were the only major product category to register an increase in exports (+0.3%) in April 2020. There were no increases in imports.
Analysing the imported products related to the COVID-19 pandemic , it becomes evident that these products as a whole registered an increase of 18.7% in April, mainly from China (+1266.3%). This variation was due to the increase in imports of protective equipment (+201.5%), which had already registered an increase of 31.6% in March.
Excluding Fuels and lubricants, exports and imports decreased by 38.8% and by 37.9%, respectively (-13.0% and -12.5%, in the same order, in March 2020).
The trade balance deficit in goods decreased by EUR 672 million when compared to the same month of 2019, reaching EUR 1,131 million in April 2020. Excluding Fuels and lubricants, the trade balance stood at EUR -879 million, corresponding to a decrease of EUR 468 million in the trade deficit vis-à-vis April 2019.
In the quarter ended in April 2020, exports and imports of goods decreased by 17.4% and by 16.3% respectively, compared to the quarter ended in April of 2019 (-3.1% and -4.1% in the same order, in the 1st quarter 2020). The two months with effects of the pandemic (March and April 2020) total exports and imports registered reductions of 25.9% and 25.2%, respectively.
This press release includes, besides the usual information, a detailed analysis of the 2019 main results (only available in Portuguese), including a comparison between the evolutions of the Portuguese exports and imports and the respective global imports and exports of the main partners of the national economy (Spain, France, and Germany), benefiting from the recent availability of additional data on these countries.
The information in this press release, regarding April, 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. Despite the difficulties, we ask for the best collaboration by firms, households, and public entities in answering the requests of Statistics Portugal to obtain information. The quality of official statistics depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.