Catalonia exported high-tech industrial products worth €1.89 billion in the first quarter of 2019. This represents a year-on-year increase of 5.6%, which is the largest for any technology level according to the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat). Export sales of low and medium-low tech products also increased, by 3.9% and 2.3% respectively. In contrast, exports of medium-high tech products fell by 6.4% year-on-year. The total value of industrial exports was €17.15 billion euros, a 1.4% year-on-year decrease.
Exports increased for all high-tech products. Pharmaceutical products performed particularly well, with a year-on-year increase of 6.9% in the first quarter of 2019. Sales also increased for all geographical areas, particularly countries outside the EU (+9.1%).
Sales of medium-high tech industrial products, which account for almost half of total exports of industrial products, amounted to €8.28 billion in the first quarter of 2019, a year-on-year decrease of 6.4%. This decline is due mainly to a drop in sales of electrical materials and equipment; machinery and vehicles (-11.8%); and especially motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (-17.7%). By geographical area, sales to the EU fell by 7.3%, while those to the rest of the world were down 4.1%.
In the case of medium-low tech products, export sales amounted to €2.54 billion, a year-on-year increase of 2.3%. This increase is due to higher sales to EU countries (+3.4%). Sales to the rest of the world fell slightly (-0.1%). At this technology level, export sales increased for all product categories except metal products (-1.8%).
Exports of low-tech products amounted to €4.44 billion, an increase of 3.9% over the first quarter of 2018. At this technology level, sales to the EU increased by 2.9%, and those to the rest of the world were up 5.8%.
Imports of high-tech products increase 5.7% year-on-year
In the first quarter of 2019, Catalonia imported industrial products worth €21.26 billion, a year-on-year increase of 5.1%. Purchases from abroad increased for all technology levels: 5.7% for high-tech, 5.0% for medium-high tech, 7.8% for medium-low tech, and 3.2% for low-tech. Purchases of industrial products from the EU increased for high-tech products (+27.1%) and medium-high tech products (+3.5%). For the other levels, purchases fell during the same period. In the case of imports from the rest of the world, the only category that saw a decrease was high-tech products (-15.1%).