Eurozone sees rebalancing as imports fall through downturn

City A.M. Reporter
THE EUROZONE’s trade surplus grew in February as demand for imports tumbled, official figures revealed yesterday.

The trade surplus for the 17 states came in at €10.4bn (£8.9bn) in February, firmly above market expectations.

Although the Eurozone showed a trade surplus, this was mainly due to reduced demand for imports, showing the bloc’s difficulty of increasing domestic demand as it lingers in a second year of recession.

The value of goods imported by Eurozone countries from outside the bloc decreased by seven per cent compared with February 2012.

Eurostat also revised January’s figure to a deeper deficit of €4.7bn, from €3.9bn previously, leaving an improvement of €0.7bn compared with the previous January. Exports of cars and chemicals increased €2.6bn on the year, helping to ease the deficit in the month.

Europe’s largest economy Germany started the year with the bloc’s largest trade surplus in January, of €13.6bn, on an unadjusted basis.

Countries under European Union and International Monetary Fund emergency funding programmes showed mixed performances.

Portugal narrowed its trade deficit to €0.6bn in January from €1.1bn a year earlier, but Greece’s trade deficit rose to €1.9bn from €1.7bn in January 2012.