Romania’s trade gap widens by nearly 40% y/y in July

Romania’s trade gap widens by nearly 40% y/y in July
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest September 10, 2019

Romania’s exports contracted by 1% y/y in July, while imports rose by 5.9% y/y resulting in a trade gap that was 38% wider compared to the same month last year, the statistics office INS informed.  

The outstanding increase is not the effect of a low base: the gap widened by nearly €0.5bn over the past 12 months to over €1.7bn (0.84% of GDP) in only one month, July 2019.

The July figures might somehow overstate the diverging dynamics of exports and imports, but trend data confirm that exports are slowing at a significantly steeper rate than the imports.

As regards the trend, the trade gap in the rolling 12 months ending July rose by 24% y/y to over €17bn, which accounts for 8.1% of GDP. It was the steepest trend growth rate since April 2018.

Romania’s exports show signs of fatigue, likely to become more visible as country’s European trade partners face industrial slowdown as well, while imports keep rising driven by the strong domestic demand for consumption and, more recently (as confirmed by Q2 data) for investments.

Exports in the rolling 12 months increased by only 3.3% y/y to €68.6bn, decelerating from 8.1% at the end of 2018.

In contrast, the rolling 12 months imports rose by 6.8% y/y, twice as fast as exports, decelerating from the end of last year (when they were up 9.6% y/y) but at a more moderate pace.