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Slovenia's exports up by 11.7% in H1, imports by 13.9% (adds)

Ljubljana, 09 August (STA) - Slovenia exported EUR 13.95bn worth of goods in the first six months of 2017 or 11.7% more than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, imports rose by 13.9% to EUR 13.53bn, the Statistics Office said on Wednesday. Trade surplus amounted to EUR 415.1m, with the exports-to-imports ratio standing at 103.1%.

Slovenia's most important trade partners in the first half of 2017 were Germany and Italy, both in terms of exports and imports.

Among third countries, Slovenia exported the most goods to Serbia and Russia, while its top imports partners were China and Turkey.

In June, exports and imports were up by 13.4% to EUR 2.51bn and by 13.7% to EUR 2.36bn, respectively.

Trade surplus in June was the highest this year, topping EUR 156.5m, while the exports-to-imports ratio reached 106.6%.

Slovenia exported EUR 1.92bn worth of goods to EU member states in June, which is 13.3% more than in June 2016, while it imported EUR 1.91bn or 12.7% more than a year ago.

The surplus in trade with EU countries in June amounted to EUR 9.9m, which is the highest number this year.

Exports to non-EU countries rose by 13.5% year-on-year to EUR 591.5m, while imports reached EUR 444.9m, up 18% from June 2016.

The surplus in trade with non-EU countries in June amounted to EUR 146.6m in June, which is also this year's record.

The Economy Ministry welcomed the report, with State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti saying that the results confirmed the "excellent work" of Slovenian exporters.

"This shows that exports remains the key engine of the development of the Slovenian economy and that our exporters are capable of keeping up with the growth of the European and global economies," Cantarutti told the STA.

He warned of the "slight danger of overheating" though, pointing to issues such as staff shortage. But he said he was confident that companies were capable of tackling such challenges.

The state secretary also pointed to government measures aimed at helping exporters such as funding R&D and encouraging internationalisation as well as efforts of the economic diplomacy.

Chief analyst at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Bojan Ivanc said the results were above average.
        
He attributed the growth of imports to higher importing of intermediate goods and materials needed for products that are being exported, and to higher household spending and growth of the construction sector.

In the first five months, exports of electric machines and devices were up the most, followed by exports of vehicles, oil and petroleum products, he noted. In imports, the biggest growth was recorded with petroleum products, road vehicles and electric devices.

GZS expects the export growth to slow down in the second half of the year, as the current growth rate is not sustainable. But the figures can still be affected by the growing trade in petroleum products and the short-term importing of vehicles to be sold in other countries.

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