Prague - Czech foreign trade ran a preliminary surplus of Kc16.5bn in April by national methodology, which was an annual rise of Kc1.5bn, the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) said today. Czech firms raised exports by 11.2 percent in annual terms, and imports rose by 11.3 percent.
A decrease in deficit in mineral fuels amounting to Kc0.7bn, a growth of Kc0.6bn in surplus in miscellaneous manufactured articles and a Kc0.5bn rise in surplus in machinery and transport equipment and beverages and tobacco had a positive impact on the annual figure, statisticians said.
Total balance was negatively affected by a Kc0.8bn fall in surplus in manufactured goods classified chiefly by material.
The April figures surpassed analysts´ estimates.
"The double-digit growth in exports for which car makers ... are responsible again is pleasing," said CSOB analyst Petr Dufek.
The annual growth rate, however, reflects the effect of a weaker crown, which raises sales in euros and dollars converted to crowns. Adjusted for this effect, the growth is a bit less breathtaking, Dufek said.
Foreign trade surplus is going to show a new record high, according to him.
The national method reflects the export and import performance of the Czech economy. It measures real trade in goods carried out between Czech and foreign entities, that is the change of ownership between residents and non-residents.
The former cross-border method reflected only physical movements of goods across the border regardless of whether trade between Czech and foreign entities did occur.
Trade balance with EU28 member states ended in a surplus of Kc53.1bn, Kc5.7bn more on the year.
"Czech exporters are taking advantage of growing demand on the neighbouring markets but they are less successful on markets outside Europe," Jiri Grund, the chairman of the Association of Exporters, said referring to a growth in the deficit in trade with non-EU countries.
Patrik Rozumbersky of UniCredit Bank said that industry is still dependent on a cyclical recovery of European demand for cars.
"The growing weight of car manufacturing, however, makes Czech industry as well as Czech economy more and more sensitive to fluctuating demand for vehicles," Rozumbersky said. "This may cause GDP growth fluctuations in the future," he added.
A slowdown in the car industry can be expected towards the end of the year, according to him.
A deficit in trade with non-EU countries rose by Kc4.0bn to Kc35.6bn.
By the cross-border method, exports grew by 10.8 percent to Kc297.8bn and imports rose by 9.2 percent to Kc255.8bn, according to preliminary figures, statisticians said.
Machinery and transport equipment exports grew by an annual rate of 12.7 percent or Kc18.4bn. Exports of road vehicles were Kc12.1bn higher, exports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances added Kc2.7bn and exports of office machines, automatic data-processing machines posted a rise of Kc1.8bn.
Imports of machinery and transport equipment rose by 14.2 percent or Kc13.3bn in annual terms. Imports of road vehicles grew by Kc4.4bn, imports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances by Kc4.0bn and imports of general industrial machinery and equipment by Kc2.3bn.
Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, on the other hand, declined by 8.3 percent or Kc2.1bn. Imports of crude petroleum increased by 14.9 percent in value and by 14.3 percent in volume. Imports of natural gas went down by 48.8 and 35.1 percent, respectively, the CSU said.
In January-April 2014, exports and imports increased by 15.6 and 13.3 percent, respectively, by the cross-border method.