Eurozone trade surplus widens in May
The eurozone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world widened in May, official data published on Tuesday showed.
According to initial estimates from Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics office, the 19-strong eurozone recorded a €23bn trade surplus with the rest of the world in May, compared to €16.9bn a year earlier. Imports were €180.3bn, up 4.2%, while exports rose 7.1% to €203.4bn.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, exports rose 1.4% while imports decreased 1%, giving a balance of +€20.2bn.
The surplus in the year-to-May now stands at €82.7bn, after exports rose 5% to €973.5bn and imports increased 5.2% to €890.8bn.
Across the wider bloc, there was a trade surplus of €7.8bn in May compared to €0.4bn a year earlier. In the year-to-date, the 28 member states recorded a deficit of €14.2bn against the previous year’s deficit of €9.9bn, after exports rose 6.1% and imports 6.6%. Energy imports from Russia and Norway significant contributors.
Against individual countries, the trade surplus between the EU28 and the US was €62.1bn in the five months to May, against €55.4bn a year earlier, while the deficit with China widened to €76.7bn from €69.2bn.
Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Trade surpluses in France, Italy and Germany improved, but the deficit in Spain widened.
"The initial Brexit deadline has thrown off these data in recent months; the eurozone trade surplus jumped in March, ahead of the first deadline, and plunged in April. Today’s headline is a rebound from this slump, though we doubt it will be enough to prevent a net export drag over the second quarter as a whole, primarily in Italy and Germany."