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Euro zone trade surplus surges in Feb

Published 04/16/2024, 05:05 AM
Updated 04/16/2024, 06:47 AM
© Reuters. File photo: A general view of the Port of Hamburg as members of the German and French governments attend a boat tour, in Hamburg, Germany, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/File photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone exports jumped in February and the bloc's trade surplus widened, adding to recent indicators suggesting that the bloc is now past the worst of its economic malaise and a slow rebound is underway, Eurostat data showed on Tuesday.

The euro zone economy has stagnated for six straight quarters while its vast manufacturing sector was in deep recession but some hopeful indicators now suggest that global demand is recovering all while the bloc's import bill remains subdued.

The trade surplus doubled in February to 23.6 billion euros from the previous month, all on a big monthly surge in extra euro area exports, the EU's statistic agency said.

Still, while exports have shown big monthly gains over the past two months, they are merely on par with year ago figures, indicating that the recovery is still far from complete.

In the European Union as a whole, manufactured goods exports jumped, primarily on better sales of machinery and transport equipment, offsetting small drops in many other categories.

Imports on the other hand remained far below their recent levels, mostly on lower energy imports, which were down 18.2% compared to a year earlier.

This lowered the bloc's trade deficit in energy to 28.2 billion euros from 35.4 billion a year earlier.

While EU imports fell from most of its biggest trading partners, there was a notable monthly rise from China, the second monthly increase that appears to buck the trend.

The increase was small in absolute terms and Chinese imports are still far below their long term trend but an influx of cheaper manufactured goods from Asia could lie behind the notable drop in imported goods inflation.

© Reuters. File photo: A general view of the Port of Hamburg as members of the German and French governments attend a boat tour, in Hamburg, Germany, October 9, 2023. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/File photo

Prices for non-energy industrial goods rose just 1.1% in March compared to a year earlier and some policymakers said the bloc was now importing substantial disinflation from China.

Imports from the U.S. meanwhile dropped again in February in their third monthly decline.

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