The French trade deficit narrowed to EUR 4.0 billion in February 2019 from EUR 4.2 billion in the previous month, compared to market expectations of a EUR 4.7 billion gap.
Exports surged 0.9 percent from a month earlier to EUR 42.9 billion in February, as sales increased mostly for coke and refined petroleum products (25.3 percent), natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity (12.2 percent), agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (1.2 percent), agribusiness products (0.5 percent), and transport equipment (0.4 percent). Meanwhile, exports of works of art, antiques and collectibles slumped 29.3 percent.
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Among major trading partners, exports rose to the EU (0.5 percent), Africa (4.6 percent) and Asia (2.9 percent), but fell to the Middle East (-40.8 percent) and America (-4.1 percent).
Imports increased at a softer 0.4 percent to EUR 47.6 billion in February, driven by purchases of mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (2 percent), coke and refined petroleum products (1.6 percent), other industrial products (1.5 percent), transport equipment (1.3 percent), agribusiness products (1.1 percent), and agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products (0.4 percent). By contrast, there was a steep decline in natural hydrocarbons, mining products, electricity imports (-14 percent).
Among major trading partners, imports rose mainly from the EU (1.6 percent), Asia (2 percent) and America (0.2 percent), but fell from the Middle East (-5.9 percent) and Africa (-1.4 percent).