Eurozone swings back to trade surplus as German exports rise

Jasper Jolly
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German Exports Strong Despite Euro Debt Crisis
German cars are one of their major exports (Source: Getty)

The Eurozone returned to a trade surplus in February after falling to a deficit last month as an increase in exports from Germany tipped the balance of trade.

The trade surplus rose to €17.8bn (£14.9bn) during the month, according to the European Commission.

Eurozone exports rose to €333.7bn, an increase of eight per cent year-on-year. Imports also rose, but at a slower rate.

Read more: Macron blasts German trade surplus as harmful to Eurozone economy

France’s shrinking trade deficit was one of the main drivers of the overall surplus for the bloc, while Germany’s surplus also grew further as exports to outside the EU grew by 10 per cent year-on-year.

The US was easily Europe’s largest trading partner, with exports more than double those to China, the next-biggest destination for EU goods.

The Eurozone’s trade surplus has become politicised in recent months after US President Donald Trump drew attention to the weakness of the euro. Peter Navarro, one of his main trade advisers, accused Germany of manipulating the currency to boost its own exports.

Read more: UK's financial services sector goes from strength to strength

French Presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron waded into the debate earlier this week, saying in an interview the German trade surplus was bad for the Eurozone economy and called for a “rebalancing”.

The euro has fallen by around 22 per cent against the US dollar since a peak in early 2014. This has given a significant boost to the German economy, which has a strong manufacturing base.

Germany posted a 2016 trade surplus with the rest of the world of €253bn. The figure broke the 2015 record of €244bn.

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