Austria's External Trade Deficit 2023 has Fallen Sharply

OrganizationsOther ♦ Published: June 25, 2024; 14:15 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria recorded a remarkable reduction in its foreign trade deficit in 2023. As the latest figures from Statistics Austria show, the deficit fell by around 90 percent from 20.59 billion euros in 2022 to just 2.02 billion euros. This decrease is mainly due to cheaper energy imports, especially gas.

In the period from January to November 2023, the People's Republic of China was among Austria's most important trading partners with an import share of 7.5% (EUR 14.11 billion) and an export share of 2.5% (EUR 4.71 billion). / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Keith Skipper [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

In 2023, the value of imports amounted to €202.78 billion, a decrease of 5.8% compared to the previous year. At the same time, exports rose by 3.1% to EUR 200.76 billion. The Director General of Statistics Austria, Tobias Thomas, attributed this positive trend to the significant reduction in gas imports and the increase in exports of machinery, vehicles, and chemical products.

"In 2022, imports were still more than 20 billion euros higher than exports due to the drastic rise in energy prices," said Thomas. "The favorable gas imports and the robust development of exports have significantly reduced the trade deficit in 2023."

Development of trade relations

Austria imported goods worth 131.35 billion euros from the European Union in 2023, which corresponds to a decrease of 6.3%. Exports to the EU, on the other hand, rose by 2.8% to 137.37 billion euros. The trade balance with the EU amounted to 6.02 billion euros, in contrast to a deficit of 6.56 billion euros in 2022.

Trade with third countries also showed positive developments. While imports fell by 4.8% to 71.42 billion euros, exports rose by 3.9% to 63.39 billion euros. This reduced the trade deficit with third countries from 14.03 billion euros to 8.04 billion euros.

Special trading partners

Austria recorded a particularly large trade deficit with China. With an import share of 7.5 percent (EUR 15.12 billion) and an export share of 2.5 percent (EUR 5.07 billion), the People's Republic was one of Austria's most important trading partners in 2023. The trade deficit with China amounted to EUR 10.05 billion, which is the highest deficit with a trading partner.

Trade with Ukraine and Russia also showed interesting developments. Imports from Ukraine amounted to EUR 0.93 billion in 2023, while exports amounted to EUR 0.62 billion. Around 6.4 percent of all raw materials imported to Austria came from Ukraine.

Imports with Russia, one of the most important trading partners, fell by more than half to EUR 4.09 billion, mainly due to the sharp reduction in fuel and energy imports. Exports to Russia fell by more than a quarter to 1.3 billion euros.

In November 2023, the value of exports in Austria's foreign trade rose by 4.4% to EUR 18.96 billion compared to November 2022. At the same time, the import value of goods fell by 14.3% to EUR 17.26 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of EUR 1.70 billion. The drop in gas imports by more than half was particularly striking, while the volume imported fell by almost 10 percent.

Long-term trend

With few exceptions, Austria has recorded a negative trade balance every year since joining the EU in 1995. However, foreign trade volumes in terms of value have risen steadily for both imports and exports. The biggest slumps occurred in 2009 due to the financial and economic crisis and in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The significant decrease in the trade deficit in 2023 shows that Austria is well on the way to stabilizing its trade relations and strengthening its position in international trade. By promoting exports and reducing energy imports, a significant contribution was made to the country's economic stability.

Statistics Austria