The eurozone's trade surplus doubled in June, boosting the mildly positive mood over the 16-strong bloc's economic performance. But analysts warn that recent positive signals are still too weak to suggest the beginning of a steady recovery.
According to preliminary figures released by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, on Monday (17 August), the euro area saw a surplus of €4.6 billion in trade balance with the rest of the world in June, up from a zero difference between exports and imports recorded a year before. It is the highest figure for two years.
Back in May, the eurozone's trade balance amounted to a surplus of €2.1 billion against a deficit of €3.8 billion in May 2009.
The same positive trend has been only partially copied for the whole of the EU's 27 member states, however. The bloc's trade balance remained in the red in June, with a deficit of €4.3 billion, compared with €7.2 billion in May and €19.3 billion last June.
A boost in exports came mainly from Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, while the UK, France and Spain registered the largest trade deficits.
Across different sectors, the EU's trade mainly benefited the energy business while the surplus fell for machinery, vehicles and chemicals, according to Eurostat.
in terms of trade partners, the largest drop in EU's exports was recorded with Russia, Turkey, South Korea and Norway. The bloc also imported less from Russia, Japan and Brazil.
While still in the red, the EU's trade surplus also fell with regard to the US and Switzerland. At the same time, Europe's performance improved towards China, the world's leading exporter.