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Adding value to spanish exports


Improvement in the trade balance

Yaiza de la Campa. Journalist

The positive trend at the end of 2012 persists and agri-food exports continue to perform positively. Exports in the first half of 2013 expanded by 3%, improving the trade balance by 20% with respect to the same period of 2012, according to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (MAGRAMA) report on foreign trade in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

Exports rose and imports fell in the first half of 2013. The trade balance improved by 20%, to 4.229 billion euros. The coverage ratio stands at 128%, compared with 123% in the first half of 2012.

Exports of following areas outperformed: grains (+44%), animal feed (+17%), and vegetables (+12%), while underperforming components included cocoa (-10%), fats and oils (-8%), and processed meats (-10%).

Imports of the following items increased: fats and oils (+33%), sugar (+18%), processed fish (+17%), and vegetables (+16%), whereas the following declined: grains (-13%), animal feed (-12%), and coffee, tea and spices (-10%).


Trade among EU member states in 1H 2013 performed in line with the trend of rising exports (+3%) and falling imports (-1.7%) with respect to 1H 2012.

The trade balance was a positive 6.418 billion euros, with a coverage ratio of 177%. Exports to the EU account for 77% of the sector total, and imports for 56%.

In terms of sub-sectors, exports of the following products increased compared with 1H 2012: animal feed (+32%), grains (+31%), and vegetables (+10%); imports of the following areas fell: grains (-23%), coffee, tea and spices (-14%), and oilseed (-7%).


In 1H 2013, trade with non-EU countries maintained the trend of rising exports (+3%), with the exception of meat, dairy products and cacao; imports also increased (+0.3%), except for fish/mollusks/crustaceans, cocoa and cocoa products, and animal feed products.  

The trade balance in the first half was -2.189 billion euros, and the coverage ratio was 67%. This reflects an improvement compared with 1H 2012, when the balance was -2.299 billion euros and the coverage ratio was 65%.

Exports to non-EU countries accounts for 23% of the sector total, and imports for 44%. Exports of grains, vegetables and live animals increased, whereas imports of animal feed products, cocoa and cocoa products, and timber and charcoal declined.


The foreign trade balance for all Spanish economic sectors was favorable in June 2013, totaling -235 million euros, i.e. an improvement of 91% with respect to June 2012. The trade balance for the agriculture and fisheries sector improved by 62.9%, to 576 million euros, due to the notable 11.4% decline in imports. The balance of the last 12 months stood at 6.082 billion euros, i.e. 38.5% higher than in the previous period, with exports totaling 36.027 billion euros.

The agriculture sub-sector's monthly trade balance rose by 35.3%, to 703 million euros, primarily due to the performance of imports, and especially to unprocessed products, which declined by 16.4%, mainly in grains, oilseed and animal feed.

Processed agri-food products also improved its trade balance due to the greater decline in imports (7.8%) than in exports (5%) (oils, cocoa, prepared meat products). The performance of the fisheries sub-sector, which historically has a negative balance, improved by 21% in June 2013, to -138 million euros. This is mainly attributable to the very large decline in imports (15%).


The Foreign Trade Analysis report also separately examines the recent performance of foreign trade in several products, including milk and cream, potatoes, tuna, and cider.

Additionally, it analyses foreign trade in the eight most important agri-food groups (meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, grains, oilseed, oils, and beverages) in terms of performance, volume and economic value, main sub-groups, average prices and trends.

The report devotes a chapter to bilateral foreign trade with Switzerland, exports and imports in the agriculture and fisheries sector in the last three years, the main products in terms of economic value, and the market share they represent in the destination country.

This foreign trade analysis draws on information from official sources at the Department of Customs and Excise Taxes (AEAT) and the State Secretariat for Trade (MINECO) (DataComex), processed by the Sub-directorate General of Information Systems at MAGRAMA and in accordance with the methodological note in that document.

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