Eurozone foreign trade surplus increased more than expected in June led by robust growth in shipments, the latest figures published by Eurostat showed Friday.
The trade surplus rose to EUR 14.9 billion from EUR 7.1 billion in May. A year ago, the balance showed surplus of EUR 0.2 billion. The surplus figure exceeded the EUR 9.5 billion forecast by economists.
Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted exports rose 2.4 percent, faster than the 0.4 percent gain seen in May. At the same time, imports remained stable after easing 0.9 percent last month.
Exports rose 12 percent year-on-year to EUR 161.5 billion in June, while imports increased 2 percent to EUR 146.6 billion.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus surged to EUR 10.5 billion from EUR 6.8 billion in May.
During first half of 2012, exports grew 8 percent and imports climbed 2 percent from the prior year. As exports increased more than imports, the trade balance swung to EUR 26.2 billion surplus.
The Eurozone economy shrunk 0.2 percent in the second quarter and economists expect it to contract again in the third quarter, thereby slipping into recession.
However, Germany, which is the biggest economy in the currency bloc, expanded 0.3 percent, while the French economy stagnated for the third straight quarter.
"Perhaps most surprising was the strength of exports from both France and Germany," Capital Economics economist Jennifer McKeown said.
"We suspect that the euro's latest rally will be shortlived, so French and German exporters should receive a further boost from developments in the exchange rate in the months to come."
That said, this is unlikely to be enough to prevent sharp falls in exports, McKeown added.
The first estimate for the June extra-EU27 visible trade surplus totaled EUR 0.4 billion, reversing a EUR 3.8 billion shortfall last month.
During January to May, EU27 exports to most of its major partners increased annually, except for Turkey and India. The most notable increases were registered for exports to Russia, South Korea, Brazil and Japan.
The EU27 trade surplus with the USA increased to EUR 32.5 billion during January to May from EUR 28.2 billion last year. But surplus with Switzerland and Turkey decreased from last year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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