In 2021, exports of goods increased by 18.3%, in nominal terms, compared to 2020 and 6.2% compared to 2019, reaching EUR 63,619 million. Imports totalled EUR 83,146 million, increasing by 22.0% vis-à-vis 2020 and 4.0% compared to 2019.
The deficit of the trade balance reached EUR 19,527 million, increasing by EUR 5,139 million vis-à-vis the previous year and decreasing by EUR 547 million compared to 2019.
Excluding Fuels and lubricants, exports and imports of goods increased by 16.9% and 18.6%, respectively (-8.9% and -12.3%, in the same order, in 2020), corresponding to an increase of EUR 2,883 million in the trade deficit. Compared to 2019, the variations were +6.5% in exports and +4.0% in imports, occurring a decrease of the deficit by EUR 816 million.
The three main external clients and suppliers of goods to Portugal continued to be Spain, France and Germany. Transactions with Spain continued to record the largest trade deficit, while the largest surplus remained with France.
In 2021, Machinery and mechanical appliances were the main exported and imported group of products, surpassing Vehicles and other transport equipment in exports.
In 2021, there was a recovery of economic activity with a particular impact on international transactions, surpassing the all-time highest values of the international trade in goods statistics that had been reached in 2019. It is important to refer that, mostly in the second half of 2021 and in the case of raw materials and energetic products, the contribution of prices variations to exports and imports nominal variations increased, determining an unfavourable evolution in the terms of trade for the net importing countries of that type of goods. It´s in this group that Portugal is integrated, recording in 2021 a price variation in imports of +8.9%, 1.1 percentual points above the price variation of exports.
In 2021, exports and imports of Transport equipment increased by 8.6% and 3.7%, respectively, compared to the previous year. This category remained the 3rd main exported category, but in imports fell a position to 5th main imported category. Passenger motor cars accounted, in 2021, for 31.7% of exports and 33.6% of imports of Transport equipment, being the main traded product. The COVID-19 pandemic caused interruptions in the supply chains of components for motor vehicles production, therefore despite the increase in exports of Passenger motor cars in 2021 (+10.3% compared to 2020), it has not permitted the recovery to pre-pandemic values yet (-17.9% compared to 2019) – see box in this press release.
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