ROME, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Italy's trade with countries outside the European Union (EU) grew in March, the National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) reported Tuesday, led by big increases in trade with China.
The institute said that overall non-EU exports grew by 2.5 percent in March compared to the previous month, while imports increased 6.8 percent. Compared to the year-ago period, the increases were far larger, with exports expanding by 23.1 percent and imports by 35.0 percent.
ISTAT said that trade with China saw the largest increases, with exports up by 47.0 percent compared to the same period in 2020, and imports climbing by 89.7 percent.
Asian countries excluding China were the second-fastest growing destination for Italian exports in March, growing by 41.0 percent in March, while OPEC countries -- the main oil-producing countries -- were the second fastest-growing group for Italy's imports for the month, reflecting a rise in the import of energy products.
March 2020, the comparison period, was the first month in which Italy's economy felt the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Diversified energy products saw the biggest changes both in terms of exports and imports, ISTAT said, though exports of durable consumer goods, such as household appliances, and capital goods, such as machine parts, also saw strong increases compared to March 2020.
Italy's overall trade balance remained positive, according to the ISTAT data. It totaled 4.80 billion euros (5.80 billion U.S. dollars), compared to 5.07 billion euros. Excluding energy products, the trade surplus was worth 7.47 billion euros, larger than the 7.05 billion euros a year earlier.