Well, equilibrium is a bit exaggerated. In May, Spain’s trade balance accumulated over 12 months – my favorite way of looking at this data for seasonality – registered a deficit of about 20.5 billion euros, which is equal to roughly 2 percent of the GDP.
The data improved by slightly more than 2 billion euros in April, due to an increase in the non-energy trade surplus of about 1.074 billion euros, along with a reduction in the energy deficit of about 824 million.
Is this behavior sustainable? Theoretically, yes. Although fluctuating slightly, Spain’s trade balance has been improving continually since May 2008, when it came close to a dizzying 13 percent of GDP. This behavior is typical of economies in recession, and even more so in those that are experiencing a recession as profound and far-reaching as Spain’s.
Improvement in the trade balance is an inevitable consequence of a contraction in consumption, which reduces imports. But it also proves that Spanish companies have identified how to find customers in foreign markets, which is particularly commendable if we consider that the recession has affected virtually the entire eurozone. In addition, this strong trend keeps hope alive that Spain’s GDP will start growing once again, albeit timidly, in the final quarter of this year.