"The flash estimate for the first quarter of 2021 points to the acceleration of exports of goods, which will have increased by 6.0 percent year-on-year (-3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020) and to a less intense reduction of imports (-5.7 percent, compared to -9.9 percent in the previous quarter)," INE said.

With the release of the 'International Trade in Goods' flash estimate for the first quarter, INE begins the early release of information on quarterly developments in imports and exports of goods, based on information collected up to 25 days after the reference quarter.

"Naturally, the earlier release of results carries a higher probability of revisions reflecting the lower volume of primary information available, particularly on the last month of the quarter. Still, [...] the flash estimate is in general very close to the result usually published 40 days after the quarter", it states.

According to INE, the 25-day flash estimate of 'International Trade in Goods' is one of the elements required for the subsequent 30-day flash estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and does not replace the release of 40-day monthly information, which will be maintained, containing more disaggregated information, by product and by country.

The next INE monthly highlight with international trade data will be released on 10 May 2021 and the next flash estimate, for the second quarter of 2021, on 28 July.