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Euro zone trade surplus surges, but less than expected, in April

Euro zone trade surplus surges, but less than expected, in April

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s unadjusted trade surplus was almost five times higher in April than a year earlier, mainly thanks to a strong rebound in exports of machinery and cars, but was still smaller than expected, data showed on Tuesday.

The European Union’s statistics office said the unadjusted trade surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro was 10.9 billion euros in April compared with 2.3 billion in April 2020, as overall euro zone exports rose 43.2% while imports increased 37.4%.

But the April result fell short of market expectations of a 15.8 billion euro surplus in a Reuters poll of economists.

Exports of machinery and vehicles from the whole EU jumped 11.9% in the first four months of 2021, swelling the surplus in that category to 58.5 billion euros from 48.5 billion euros a year earlier.

The EU’s trade deficit with its biggest trading partner China widened, but it was offset by increased trade surpluses with the United States and Britain.

The 27-nation bloc’s overall trade volume with Britain fell after the country left the EU’s internal market at the start of the year but the surplus surged because imports from Britain plunged 27.1% in January-April while exports declined only 3.3%.

Adjusted for seasonal factors the euro zone’s external trade surplus was 9.4 billion euros in April, down from 18.3 billion euros in March.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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