World trade slows down and Spanish exports fall for “first time in years”


At the end of 3Q23 Spain still maintained slight growth because the fall in volume (-4.7%) was offset by the rise in price (+5.3%). But by 30 November, Spanish export turnover was already down slightly, by 0.7% (Germany by -1.3%), while those of Italy and France were up, by +0.7% and +2.8%.

“In 2023, and for the first time in many years, Spanish exports have fallen in volume and value, due to international circumstances, but also because there has been no choice but to increase prices. This circumstance will worsen this year with the new rise in labour costs”, explained Antonio Bonet, President of the Spanish Exporters and Investors Club, on 30 January.

The full official statistics for 2023 will be known on 19 February, but the volume of exports had already fallen by 4.7% by September 2023 and only the rise in their price (5.3%) allowed revenues to increase by 0.3% to €287,585 million in the first nine months of the year. But the change of course was evident: the €31,015 million exported in September was 10.4% less than in September 2022.

And the figures for the last quarter do not suggest a change in trend, on the contrary: in November 2023, Spanish merchandise exports continued to fall in volume, at an even higher year-on-year rate of 6.7%.

So, despite price rises, in the first eleven months of 2023 Spanish exports of goods totalled €354.74 billion, with a fall in turnover of -0.7% compared to the previous year. In those eleven months, those of the United Kingdom fell by -0.9%, those of Germany by -1.3% and those of the USA by -2.4% but, in contrast, those of France rose by +2.8%, those of Italy by +0.7%, those of China by +0.3% and those of Japan by +2.1%.

It is true that as our imports fell even more than our exports – with a contraction of 6.8% to €391,899 million as of November – the trade deficit in the period January/November 2023 was “only” €37,158 million, practically half of that recorded in the same months of 2022, €63,602 million.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.