Eurozone returns to trade surplus

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Brussels - The 17-nation eurozone posted a 2012 trade surplus of 81.8 billion euros ($108 billion), more than reversing a deficit of 15.7 billion euros in 2011, official data showed Friday.

For December, the eurozone had a trade surplus of 11.7 billion euros, down from 13 billion euros in November, as exports fell 1.8

percent and imports by 3.0 percent, the Eurostat agency said.

For the wider 27-member EU, December showed a trade deficit of some 700 million euros after a deficit of 1.9 billion euros in November, as exports dropped 1.9 percent and imports were down 1.6 percent.

For 2012, the full EU suffered a trade deficit of 104.6 billion euros, improving from a deficit of 162.7 billion euros in 2011.

Eurostat said that for the January-November 2012 period, the EU 27 deficit on energy increased to 388.6 billion euros from 354.6

billion euros in the same period a year earlier, while the bloc enjoyed a surplus in manufactured goods of 330.8 billion euros, up from 224.9 billion euros.

Among member states for the same period, powerhouse Germany had the biggest trade surplus at 174.6 billion euros, followed by the Netherlands, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Britain had the largest deficit at 152.9 billion euros, with France, Spain and Greece next. - Sapa-AFP

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