Eurozone trade figures a rare glimmer of hope for the bloc

Ben Southwood
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A SEEMINGLY unbroken spate of gloomy Eurozone data was yesterday broken by figures showing the currency bloc had expanded its trade surplus during November.

The beleaguered currency area sold €13.7bn (£11.4bn) more to the rest of the world than it bought, Eurostat revealed, beating the €9.3bn surplus it achieved in October, and the €4.9bn seen one year before.

A €39.4bn January to October surplus with the UK in 2011 expanded to hit €52.2bn for the same period in 2012.

The bloc also enjoyed a soaring surplus with the US and Switzerland – paying for the huge deficits with China and Russia.

Though the wider EU continued to post a trade deficit, November’s trade balance of minus €1.7bn represented a significant narrowing compared to October’s €9.8bn deficit and the €9.3bn deficit the bloc recorded in November 2011.

As usual when looking just at individual member states, Germany posted the largest surplus – €157.7bn in the first 10 months of 2012 – followed by the Netherlands and Ireland. On the other side, the UK posted the biggest deficit – €139.8bn in the same period – followed by France, Spain and Greece.