Eurozone trade deficit narrows sharply on big boost to exports

Ben Southwood
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JANUARY 2013 proved a much healthier month for Eurozone trade than the same month last year, with both exports and imports rising considerably.

Exports were up €7.2bn (£6.2bn) compared to the previous January, according to figures released by Eurostat yesterday, hitting €146.5bn.

Since imports grew more slowly, by only €2.1bn, to €150.4bn, the trade deficit narrowed from €9.1bn to €3.9bn, the official statistics body said.

And although the trade balance turned around between December last year and January this year, from an €8.7bn surplus to a €3.9bn deficit, driven by an €17.9bn surge in imports, IHS Global Insight’s Howard Archer said this was likely down to higher oil prices.

“The Eurozone trade data were relatively healthy, with a rise in exports lifting hopes that net trade can make a renewed positive contribution to Eurozone GDP,” Archer said.

“The rise in imports could also be a sign that Eurozone domestic demand has picked up from the lows seen in the fourth quarter.”