Exports of goods decreased by 10.3% in 2020, in nominal terms, compared to the previous year (+3.5% in 2019), reaching EUR 53,757 million. Imports totalled EUR 68,146 million, less 14.8% vis-à-vis the previous year (+6.0% in 2019). The trade balance of goods registered a decrease of the deficit by EUR 5,686 million compared to 2019, recording a negative balance of EUR 14,388 million. Excluding Fuels and lubricants, exports decreased by 8.9% and imports fell by 12.3% (+4.4% and +6.8% respectively in 2019) and the deficit decreased by EUR 3,699 million, reaching EUR 10,936 million.
The three main external clients and suppliers of goods to Portugal continued to be Spain, France and Germany. The largest trade deficit remained with Spain and the largest surplus was registered with France, while in the previous year it had been with the United States.
Vehicles and other transport equipment were the main group exported, followed by Machinery and mechanical appliances. In imports, these were also the main traded groups, although with a change of positions compared to exports.
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed the necessity to reinforce imports of some specific products, namely masks. Excluding vaccines, whose expression in imports in 2020 was still of little significance, this group of products recorded an increase of about EUR 725 million, of which more than half was from China (EUR +396 million). In the accumulated period from January to August 2021, in relation to the same period of 2020, there was a decrease of 2.9% in imports of these products, however with an increase in the significance of vaccines – see box in this press release.
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