BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s trade balance was in deficit for the third consecutive month in January as surging energy prices led to a sharp increase in the value of imports, even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted further price spikes.
Eurostat said the non-adjusted trade deficit of the 19 countries sharing the euro was 27.2 billion euros ($30.1 billion) compared with a 10.7 billion euro surplus a year earlier in January 2021.
Payments for imports jumped by 44.3% year-on-year, while revenues from exports grew by only 18.9%.
It was the third consecutive month of deficit and a more substantial shortfall than in the previous two months.
Data for the whole 27-nation European Union showed the cost of energy product imports more than doubled in January from a year earlier, with marked increases also for imports of other raw materials, chemicals and machinery.
The EU’s trade deficits with energy supplier Russia more than doubled to 11.9 billion euros and with Norway grew from just 0.1 billion euros a year earlier to 5.8 billion euros. The deficit also nearly doubled with China to almost 34 billion euros, and widened with India and South Korea.
The EU maintained a surplus with the United States, Britain and Switzerland.
Adjusted for seasonal swings, the euro zone trade was also in deficit for a third consecutive month, although the 7.7 billion euro figure for January was slightly smaller than December’s 9.7 billion euro shortfall.
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($1 = 0.9038 euros)
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