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Eurozone sees glut in trade balance

THE eurozone's trade balance swung into a surplus in March from deficits the previous month and a year earlier as exports dipped marginally more slowly than imports amid the worst recession in decades, data showed.

The unadjusted external trade surplus of the 16 countries using the euro came to 400 million euros (US$541.7 million) against deficits of 1 billion euros in February and 2.3 billion euros in March 2008, the European Union's statistics office said.

Unadjusted exports fell 17 percent year on year in March to 108.0 billion euros while imports dropped 18 percent to 107.6 billion, the Eurostat figures showed.

The eurozone economy contracted 2.5 percent quarter on quarter in the January-March period - its deepest fall on record - in what economists said was likely the low point of the recession.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the eurozone had a 2.1-billion-euro trade deficit in March, but that was up from a 2.9-billion-euro gap in February and a 6.6-billion-euro shortfall in January.

Seasonally adjusted exports rose 1.4 percent month on month in March while imports gained 0.6 percent.

Despite the global slump, exports from the eurozone's biggest economy, Germany, grew by 7.5 percent month on month in March to 26 billion euros and its trade surplus rose to 5.1 billion euros from 3.4 billion euros in February.

The trade deficit with China eased slightly as did trade gaps with Russia, Japan and Norway.


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