Euro Area Trade Surplus Widens to 8-Month High

The Eurozone trade surplus increased to €28.6 billion in March of 2016 compared to a €19.9 billion surplus a year earlier, beating market expectations of €22.5 billion. It was the highest reading since July last year, as exports fell 3 percent while imports dropped at a much faster 8 percent. Considering the first quarter of the year, the trade surplus increased to €53.9 billion, compared with €46.8 billion in the same period of 2015.

Exports of goods to the rest of the world fell 3 percent on the year to €177.8 billion, while imports declined 8 percent to €149.2 bn. In January to March 2016, exports fell 1 percent year-on-year to €485.8 bn and imports fell 3 percent to €432.0 bn, resulting in a surplus of €53.9 bn, compared with €46.8 bn in the same period a year earlier.

The European Union recorded a €7.2 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world, compared with +€6.7 bn in March 2015, as exports went down 7 percent to €150.7 billion while imports decreased 8 percent to €143.5 bn. Intra-EU28 trade fell to €270.9 bn, -2 percent compared with March 2015. 

In January to March 2016, the EU28 recorded a deficit of €0.8 bn, compared with -€3.5 bn in January-March 2015. Exports of goods dropped 4 percent to €409.1 bn, led by a fall sales of energy (-27 percent), raw materials (-8 percent) and machinery and vehicles (-4 percent); and imports contracted 5 percent to €409.9 bn, as purchases of energy (-32 percent) and raw materials (-8 percent) fell by the most. Among trading partners, the biggest decreases in shipments were reported for South Korea (-11 percent), Switzerland (-10 percent) and Russia (-9 percent); while the decline in imports mainly reflected the strong fall in purchases from Norway (-24 percent), Russia (-21 percent) and Canada (-7 percent).

Euro Area Trade Surplus Widens to 8-Month High

Eurostat | Joana Ferreira |
5/17/2016 10:59:08 AM