Euro zone trade surplus grows as imports fall in November
The euro zone trade surplus widened in November because imports fell more sharply than exports, data from the EU's statistics office Eurostat showed on Wednesday, pointing to continued weakness of domestic demand.
The 17 countries sharing the euro had an external trade surplus, unadjusted for seasonal swings, of €17.1bn($23.41 billion), in line with economists expectations.
It was above the €12.5bn in the same period of last year and a revised €16.8bn surplus in October and for the first 11 months of 2013 it was €139bn- almost double that of the same period in 2012
Non-seasonally adjusted, exports from the euro zone fell by 2pc on the year in November after a 1pc rise in October, while imports dropped by 5pc, following a 3pc contraction in October.
The United Kingdom remains the euro zone's key business partner with cumulative exports for the January to November period up by 3pc and imports down by 2pc.
Exports to China, the bloc's third biggest trade partner after the second United States, were flat in the first eleven months of last year while imports fell 6pc, leaving a €69bn trade deficit, down from €78.7bn in the same period of 2012.
In a sign of rising competitiveness, exports of Europe's southern periphery countries -- Spain, Portugal and Greece -- were up by 4pc in the January to November period, with cumulative trade deficits shrinking in all three year-on-year.
Germany's trade surplus in the first eleven months of the year rose on the year, with flat exports and a 1pc drop in imports, while France's deficit, shrinking year-on-year, was mainly due to a drop in imports.