Spanish economy scores huge trade boost

Spain's trade deficit narrowed sharply in May largely due to booming exports, the government said on Friday, in good news for the recession-struck nation struggling with soaring unemployment.

Spanish economy scores huge trade boost
The biggest exports jumps were in the energy and textile sectors, the finance ministry data showed. Photo: Juan Antonio Canales

Spain, the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy, posted a trade deficit of just €27.5 million ($36 million) in May as exports rose 7.3 percent from the level a year ago to €20.89 billion.

The biggest exports jumps were in the energy and textile sectors, the finance ministry data showed.

Imports in May meanwhile dipped 2.2 percent to €20.92 billion as orders for iron, steel and paper dwindled.

Exports have been a rare bright spot for the Spanish economy which is struggling to recover from a 2008 property crash that has pushed the jobless rate up to a record 27 percent, saddled banks with a pile of bad loans and caused government debt to soar.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has made reforms, such as changes to labour market rules, that have reduced labour costs and help make Spanish goods more competitive.

A trade surplus is a factor of growth in an economy.

Spain posted a trade surplus of €634.9 million in March, its first monthly trade surplus since 1971 as imports slumped because of a collapse in demand due to the economic downturn.

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Cava, queso, olive oil and mariscos: Trump slaps extra tariffs on Spanish produce

The US government has released a list of Spanish goods that will be subject to extra tariffs in its ongoing battle with the EU over aircraft subsidies.

Cava, queso, olive oil and mariscos: Trump slaps extra tariffs on Spanish produce
Photo: lunamarina/Depositphotos

Washington on announced it would put a 10 percent tariff on large civil aircraft imported from the four European partners of Airbus – Germany, France, Spain and the UK – after Wednesday's World Trade Organization (WTO) decision that ruled the company received undue subsidies.

The US trade representative's list includes more than 150 products, principally from those four nations but also across Europe, that will face a 25 percent tariff from October 18th.

President Donald Trump, tweeting early Thursday morning, called the WTO decision “a nice victory” and claimed the European Union has “for many years treated the USA very badly on Trade”.

The Trump administration intends to hit French, Spanish and German wines – exempting Hungarian Tokay – as well as the UK's Irish and Scottish single-malt whiskies with the tariffs.

Cheeses from across Europe, including pecorino, stilton, cheddar, reggiano and all blue-veined cheese but Roquefort – which is specifically exempted – will be taxed under the new rules.

Olives, olive oil and seafood including mussels, octopus and razor clams from Spain will also face the 25 percent tariff, as will Germany's coffee — both caffeinated and decaffeinated.

“Made in England” cashmere, woolen anoraks and bed linen from the UK will have the 25 percent surcharge added, while Germany's exports of industrial tools will be similarly affected.

READ MORE: US vows to put tariffs on products including Spanish olive oil, oranges and queso, in row over Airbus