Brussels: The euro zone’s trade surplus grew more than expected in July as exports contracted much less than imports year-on-year and rose from the previous month while imports fell, Eurostat data showed on Thursday.
The seasonally unadjusted trade surplus in the 16-country area totalled €12.6 billion ($18.6 billion), compared with a €3.5 billion deficit a year before as exports fell 19% year-on-year and imports plunged 30%.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a trade surplus of €5.2 billion. Eurostat revised up the June surplus to €5.4 billion from 4.6 billion.
The European Union’s statistics office said that adjusted for seasonal factors, the trade balance was €6.8 billion, up from 2.3 billion in June and 1.5 billion in May.
Seasonally adjusted exports grew by 4.1% in July against June, the second consecutive month of gains after June’s 0.9% increase over May—a sign of improvement in external demand for euro zone goods.
Seasonally adjusted imports, however, fell 0.3% against June after a 0.2% rise in June against May, pointing to continued weakness in domestic demand.
Detailed data for July was not yet available, but a breakdown for the January-June period showed the euro zone’s trade deficit in energy was only two thirds of the gap a year earlier, thanks to a hefty fall in oil prices.
The euro zone’s trade deficit with Russia, one of the main energy suppliers, almost halved to €12.3 billion in that period.