In the second quarter of 2024, the contribution of net external demand remained negative at -0.9 points, slightly improved from -1.1 points in the previous quarter. This was due to an 11.6% increase in the volume of national imports of goods and services, alongside a 10.9% rise in exports, year-on-year.

Export performance bolstered by key sectors

In value terms, goods exports improved by 6.4% annually in Q2 2024, driven by strong performances in the automotive, phosphate, and aerospace sectors. Automotive exports contributed +3.6 points to the overall export increase, particularly from the “wiring” and “interior vehicles and seats” segments. Phosphate and derivatives exports, benefiting from renewed foreign demand, added +2.8 points, followed by aerospace exports with +1.1 points. Conversely, the textile and leather industries continued to decline, contributing -0.5 points due to reduced exports of ready-made garments, knitwear, and footwear amid sluggish European demand.

Surge in import values

Imports of goods in value terms rose by 11.8% in Q2 2024, rebounding from a 3.6% decline in the previous quarter. This increase was driven by higher imports across most product categories. Semi-finished products, especially chemicals, paper and cardboard, and iron or steel semi-finished products, contributed +3.6 points to the overall import rise. Capital goods imports, up +3 points, were boosted by purchases of commercial vehicles, piston engines, aircraft parts, and various machinery and equipment. Consumer goods imports, contributing +2.6 points, were driven by acquisitions of car parts, pharmaceuticals, and plastic products. The food import bill was mainly influenced by increased purchases of live animals, barley, maize, and sugar due to a decline in agricultural production. The energy bill, contributing +1.4 points, was driven by higher imports of diesel, fuel oil, and petroleum gasoline.

Widening trade deficit

The larger increase in import values compared to exports led to a widening trade deficit in goods, resulting in a 2.9-point decline in the coverage ratio to 59.8% in Q2 2024, compared to the same period in 2023.