Euro zone trade surplus grows, with decline in China imports

Michelle K. Wallace

FILE PHOTO: Containers are loaded onto a boat at a shipping terminal in the harbour of the northern German town of Bremerhaven, late October 8, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world grew in February, with a decline in imports from China as well as sharply lower energy needs because of mild winter weather.

The unadjusted goods trade surplus grew to 23.0 billion euros ($25.1 billion) in February, compared with 18.5 billion euros a year earlier. Exports rose by 1.6%, while imports fell by 1.0%.

For China, which already had widespread coronavirus restrictions in place in February, exports from the European Union as a whole were slightly lower than in February 2019. However, imports were down by 8.1%, according to data on Eurostat’s website.

Energy imports as a whole also declined by 9.6% in February, when comparing Jan-Feb data issued on Monday and January data from a month ago. That translated into 10.1% lower imports from Russia and 5.9% less from Norway.

The trade surplus with the United States, by contrast, grew by 21% in the month as exports increased and imports declined. The persistent surplus in goods has been a source of transatlantic tension.

On a seasonally adjusted basis the euro zone trade surplus also rose to 25.8 billion euros in February from 18.2 billion euros in January. Exports were 1.8% higher month-on-month and imports 2.3% lower.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Catherine Evans

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