In March 2021, exports and imports of goods recorded nominal year-on-year growth rates of +28.8% and +12.2%, respectively (+2.6% and -10.4% in February 2021, in the same order). The increases in exports of Transport equipment (+61.0%) and imports of Industrial supplies (+15.1%) and Capital goods and parts thereof (+27.3%) were noteworthy. It should be noted that these March year-on-year growth rates are comparing the current month with the first month of 2020 in which the COVID-19 pandemic impact was already significant.
Excluding Fuels and lubricants, exports and imports grew by 27.9% and by 15.0%, respectively (+2.1% and -9.8%, in the same order, in February 2021).
The deficit of trade balance in goods decreased by EUR 555 million when compared to the same month of 2020 (a decrease of EUR 622 million when compared to March 2019), amounting to EUR 1,002 million in March 2021. Excluding Fuels and lubricants, the trade deficit decreased by EUR 385 million (a decrease of EUR 433 million when compared to March 2019), reaching EUR 743 million in March 2021.
In the 1st quarter of 2021, exports of goods increased by 6.2% and imports decreased by 5.3%, when compared to the 1st quarter of 2020 (-4.9% and -11.0% in the same order, in the quarter ended in February 2021). Comparing to the 1st quarter of 2019, exports increased by 3.0% and imports decreased by 8.4%.
These results, reflecting the inclusion of new information, revise upwards the year-on-year rates of change of exports and imports of the 1st quarter of 2021 (+0.2 p.p. and +0.4 p.p., respectively) presented in the quarterly flash estimate.
Despite the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Portugal calls for the fullest possible cooperation from companies, households, and public bodies in responding to Statistics Portugal data requests. The quality of official statistics, particularly their ability to help identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, crucially depends on this cooperation, for which Statistics Portugal thanks in advance.