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Foreign trade – preliminary results in December and detailed data in the first eleven months of 2023
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Foreign trade – preliminary results in December and detailed data in the first eleven months of 2023

Last update: 08.02.2024
Ilustratívny obrázok/Illustrative image
Publisher: Statistical Office of the SR
Topic: Macroeconomic statistics
Domain: Foreign trade
Publish Date: 08.02.2024

Last year, the Slovakia's foreign trade returned to the positive values after a year, it recorded a surplus of EUR 4,2 billion for the year

The resulting balance of foreign trade thus reached the highest value since 2014. It was mainly affected by a significantly lower year-on-year deficit in trade with mineral fuels and at the same time a significantly higher surplus in trade with machinery and transport equipment.

In December 2023, the year-on-year decline in Slovak exports and imports continued for the second consecutive month, although its pace was lower than in the previous month. According to preliminary results, goods in the amount of EUR 7.5 billion1) were exported from Slovakia in the last month of last year, of which the export of cars was represented more significantly. Exports were lower year-on-year for the third time in 2023, currently by 1.1%. Imports developed worse2), their value decreased by 12.9% to EUR 7.8 billion and was mainly affected by a decrease in the value of imported energy commodities. In December last year, after ten months of surplus, the trade balance dropped in negative values and ended with a deficit of EUR 258 million. Compared to the same period the year before last, it was still a better result by almost EUR 1.1 billion. In the last 10 years, the December balance was positive only three times.

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Development of foreign trade in 2023

In 2023, the Slovakia's foreign trade was able to reverse its development again after a one-year gap and caught the positive wave. Once again, the export of goods exceeded the import, as it has been for the last 15 years, with the exception of 2022. According to preliminary data, the export of goods from Slovakia for the whole year increased by 5.4% to more than EUR 108 billion and imports into the Slovak Republic declined by 2.9% to over EUR 104 billion. The values of both exports and imports exceeded the threshold of EUR 100 billion in 2023, which represents the highest volume since 2010. The balance of foreign trade was in surplus for the whole year in the amount of EUR 4.2 billion, which was a better result by more than EUR 8.7 billion compared to the same period of the previous year.

Illustrative image – graph

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Machinery and transport equipment, including cars, with 15% increase in exports

Of the ten sections in the export structure, five of them recorded a year-on-year growth. The most significant influence on the development of Slovak exports for the entire year 2023 was throughout the year the most traded section of foreign trade, Machinery and transport equipment (SITC 7), which also includes the export of automobiles. The value of exported goods in this section maintained a year-on-year growth for all 12 months and was thus higher by 15.1% year-on-year for the entire year. It was the highest growth in the last ten years. The share of this section in total exports also rose again. While in 2021 it represented approximately 61%, the year before last machinery and transport equipment accounted for less than 58%, in 2023 it already exceeded 63%.

The absolute majority, up to 77%, of exported goods went to EU member states3). The volume of this export increased only by less than 2% year-on-year. The rest was represented by exports to countries outside the EU, which increased year-on-year by almost 20%.

The import of goods recorded a year-on-year decrease after two years

The decline in imports throughout the year was mainly influenced by decreasing the value of imports in the section of Mineral fuels (SITC 3), which also includes oil, electricity and natural gas. The value of imported goods in this section was lower by more than 40% year-on-year last year. Lower imports in the section of Manufactured goods  (SITC6), which includes products from sectors such as metal processing, metallurgy, and rubber industry, also contributed to the overall decrease in imports. The value in this class was lower by almost 9% year-on-year. On the contrary, in 5 out of 10 classes, imports rose year-on-year, which dampened the overall decrease in imports.

Imports of goods from EU member states accounted for more than 65% of total imports and increased year-on-year by less than 2%. Imports from countries outside the EU decreased year-on-year by almost 11%.

Adjusted detailed data for January to November 2023

In total, for January to November 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, exports increased by 5.9% to EUR 100.8 billion and imports decreased by 2% to EUR 96.4 billion. The balance of foreign trade was in surplus in the amount of EUR 4.5 billion, the year before last the foreign trade balance recorded a deficit of EUR 3.2 billion in the first eleven months.

Outputs on the topic of foreign trade

Classifications of foreign trade

Foreign trade statistics are compiled in four different classifications. The Combined Nomenclature (CN) is the primary nomenclature used by all EU member states to report foreign trade in goods when collecting data. It is based on the Harmonized System (HS) of description and numbering of goods and is subject to annual revisions that ensure their timeliness. It is divided into sections (indicated by Roman numerals), chapters (HS2), headings (HS4) and sub-headings (HS6) of the Harmonized System of which a sub-heading of the combined nomenclature (CN8) is created by adding two more digits.

Converters allow to transpose detailed data collected under the CN to other classifications, such as:

  • Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), which correlates with sub-headings of the Harmonized System,
  • Classification according to the Broad Economic Categories (BEC), which categorizes goods into economic categories with regard to their final use,
  • Statistical Classification of Products by Activity (CPA), which allows linking products that have common characteristics with activities defined by NACE.

Preliminary data

They are published monthly no later than 6 weeks after the end of the reference month, according to the First Release Calendar in the SITC classification, Rev. 4. (at the level of 10 basic sections).

Adjusted detailed data

They are published monthly with shifting the deadline by 1 month (about 70 days after the end of the reference month) according to the Harmonized System (in the HS4 structure - approximately 1,200 headings of goods) and according to partner countries.

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