Italian exports and trade surplus posted increases in December 2016, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said on Thursday.
Sales abroad rose by 2.3 percent compared to the previous month, reflecting an export growth to both European Union (EU) countries and non-EU countries by 2.1 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
Imports grew by 2.5 percent compared to November 2016, thanks mainly to trade with non-EU countries, the agency added.
Export growth on a monthly basis was largely determined by sales of consumer goods (7.1 percent), intermediate goods (2.2 percent), and instrumental goods (1.8 percent).
The import increase was mainly due to energy purchases (10.9 percent), non-durable goods (2.3 percent) and intermediate goods (1.6 percent), ISTAT added.
Compared to the same month in 2015, December's exports climbed by 5.7 percent, and imports grew by 6.1 percent.
In this case, export expansion was much broader in the flows to EU partners (7.3 percent) than non-EU countries (4.1 percent), while import growth was mainly registered with non-European markets (8.1 percent), according to ISTAT.
In December 2016, the country's trade balance reached 5.8 billion euros (6.16 billion U.S. dollars).
The most dynamic export markets in 2016 were Japan (9.6 percent), China (6.4 percent), and the Czech Republic (6.4 percent), ISTAT wrote in its report.
A sharp 26.3-percent decrease was registered in import flows from Russia in 2016 compared to the previous year, as well as in natural gas and crude oil purchases (28.5 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively).
In terms of sectors, a strong growth was registered in annual exports of pharmaceutical, chemical, and botanical products (6.8 percent), cars (6.3 percent), transportation means except cars (4.6 percent), and food, beverages and tobacco (4.2 percent), the agency pointed out.
The total trade surplus in 2016 was estimated to be 51.6 billion euros, against a total 41.8 billion euros in 2015. (1 euro = 1.06 U.S. dollars) Enditem