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Eurozone trade surplus higher in May

AFP

Container ships ar pictured in the harbour of the northern German city of Hamburg on August 16, 2010Container ships ar pictured in the harbour of the northern German city of Hamburg on August 16, 2010

Container ships ar pictured in the harbour of the northern German city of Hamburg on August 16, 2010Container ships ar pictured in the harbour of the northern German city of Hamburg on August 16, 2010

Countries in the eurozone posted a 15.4-billion-euro ($20.9-billion) trade surplus in May, official data showed on Wednesday, with export powerhouse Germany again leading the way.

Exports in May across the 18-nation single currency zone rose by 0.6 percent in May compared with April while imports were up 0.5 percent, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

The data provided "slightly brighter news after a series of disappointing hard data releases for the month," said Christian Schulz of Berenberg Bank.

"However, trade activity has been largely flat-lining so far this year as emerging market weakness weighed on exports and a relatively mild winter lowered energy imports," he added.

The full 28-nation EU showed a small surplus of 600 million euros in May, down from 1.0 billion in April and sharply lower than the 15 billion euros in May 2013.

Capital Markets economist Michael Pearce warned that eurozone exports still faced powerful headwinds from a strong euro.

"Today?s data showed that the pace of recovery in the eurozone?s external sector remains gradual at best. And with the euro remaining at high levels, we still think the European Central Bank has more to do to bring the currency down and help rouse the eurozone economy."

Germany posted the biggest trade surplus for the four months to April, at 66 billion euros, followed by the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy.

Britain, where a recovery is stoking demand for imports, posted the biggest deficit, at 38.8 billion euros for the four months, followed by France, Spain and Greece.

"The strong, domestic-demand driven recovery in the UK is supporting growth in the eurozone," Berenberg's Schulz noted.

Date created : 2014-07-16