Actual (Mar): CZK 37.5bn
Consensus: CZK 32.0bn
Previous (Feb): CZK 28.1bn
The trade balance has posted another record-high surplus. In March the surplus beat expectations, reaching CZK 37.5bn and following the very high January and February readings. In the 1Q the foreign trade was strong and was the key positive driver of the GDP, probably offsetting the expected negative contribution of other components.
As for turnover, we can see a slowdown in March. The exports increased by 6.9 pct. year on year, while the growth of imports slowed even more significantly to 1.4 pct. The key export sectors, machinery and vehicles and manufactured articles, continued to grow decently. The share of vehicles on total exports is still on the rise. On the other hand, the imports of crude oil increased, too, due to higher prices, while the imported volume slightly decreased. The trade with chemicals still shows a significant negative balance.
There is rather a weakness of domestic demand than a strength of exports behind the record surplus. Therefore, the data does not improve our expectations about the industrial production, while it is in line with the weak retail sales in March.