The 17-nation eurozone posted a total trade deficit of €3.9 billion ($5 billion) in January, the European Union's (EU) statistics bureau Eurostat said yesterday, after reporting a surplus of €10.8 billion in December.
Seasonally adjusted exports and imports rose by 2.0 per cent and by 3.1 per cent respectively in January as against December 2012.
For the wider 27-nation EU, trade balance for January 2012 recorded a deficit of €16.5 billion, compared to €24.9 billion a year ago. Trade deficit stood at €1.1 billion in December 2012.
Seasonally adjusted export and import in the EU increased by 2.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively in January as against December 2012.
The December trade surplus was revised down to €10.8 billion from €11.7 billion for the 17-nation eurozone and for 27-nation EU a decline from €0.7 billion to €1.1 billion. The euro zone recorded an overall €81.1 billion surplus for the entire year of 2012, with exports up 7 per cent and imports rising 2 per cent from 2011.
The trade deficit narrowed in January y-o-y which is a positive sign, as growth in exports outpaced imports, confirming the slight improvement recent data that could help drive an economic recovery, said some analysts.
The 27-nation EU's exports grew in 2012 compared with 2011, except for India (-5 per cent) and Switzerland (-4 per cent). The most notable increases were recorded for exports to South Korea (+16 per cent), Russia (+14 per cent) and Japan (+13 per cent).
On the 27-nation EU's imports, the pattern was mixed. The largest increases were recorded for imports from Switzerland which grew 12 per cent, followed by 7 per cent growth in imports from the US, Russia and Norway.,
The largest decline in imports were from Japan (8 per cent), India (6 per cent) and Brazil (5 per cent).
The 27-nation EU trade surplus increased with the US - €85.9 billion in 2012 compared with €72.2 billion in 2011 and Turkey €27.3 billion compared with €24.9 billion in 2012, but fell with Switzerland at €28.9 billion compared with €46.4 billion last year.
The 27-nation bloc's trade deficit with China declined €145.9 billion compared with €157.4 billion last year and by €8.3 billion with Japan compared with 20.2 billion a year earlier.
Trade deficit remained nearly stable with Russia at €90.1 billion compared with €90.8 billion a year earlier, and rose with Norway €50.7 billion compared with €47.1 billion in 2012.
Europe's biggest exporter, Germany, grew its trade surplus further in 2012 to €186.7 billion and the largest deficit was seen from the UK, which was €164.3 billion.
The 17-member single currency zone registered a trade surplus of €10.8 billion in December 2012.