Eurozone external trade back into deficit in January

The eurozone trade balance fell back into deficit in January, the first since last September, the European Union (EU)'s statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday.

The first estimate by Eurostat showed the 16 EU nations that share the euro registered a deficit of 8.9 billion euros (12.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the first month of 2010, compared with a surplus of 4.1 billion euros in December of 2009.

It was the first time the eurozone trade balance with the rest of the world was in negative territory since September of 2009.

But the deficit was smaller than that recorded a year ago, when the euro zone posted a deficit of 12.1 billion euros, mainly thanks to the recent depreciation of the euro against the U.S. dollar amid Greek debt crisis.

Official figures also showed the 27-nation EU registered a deficit of 22.5 billion euros in January, compared with a smaller deficit of 2.5 billion euros in the previous month and a larger deficit of 28 billion euros in the same period of last year.

For the whole year of 2009, EU trade flows with all of its major partners fell, except for exports to China, which rose by four percent compared with 2008 despite an international economic crisis.

Its exports to Russia dropped the most by 37 percent and decreased by 18 percent to the U.S., the EU's largest trading partner. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.732 euro)

[Source: Xinhua, Brussels, 18Mar10]

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