Exports from the euro area rose a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent from November, when they remained unchanged, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. European construction output gained 0.5 percent from November, when it fell 0.8 percent, a separate report showed.
The euro’s 7.5 percent drop against the dollar in the past three months is helping to bolster shipments abroad by making European goods more competitive. Exports helped the euro-area economy emerge from its worst slump in more than six decades in the third quarter. Still, expansion in Europe’s services and manufacturing industries slowed last month, suggesting the economy may struggle to gain momentum this year.
The trade surplus widened to 7 billion euros ($9.6 billion) from 5.3 billion euros in November, today’s report showed. Imports rose 1.7 percent from November, when they increased 0.9 percent. For the full year, the euro region showed a trade surplus of 22.3 billion euros, compared with a trade deficit of 54.7 billion euros in 2008.
Euro-area exports to the U.S., the region’s second-biggest trading partner, dropped 20 percent in the first 11 months of 2009 from a year earlier, today’s report showed. Shipments to the U.K., the largest market for euro-area goods, declined 22 percent, while exports to China rose 2 percent. The detailed country data are published with a one-month lag.