Euro-Zone Trade Surplus Doubles In 2002

By Agence France-Presse The euro-zone trade surplus more than doubled in 2002, with a sharp drop in imports outweighing almost stagnant export growth, figures released Feb. 19 by the European Union's statistics arm Eurostat showed. The 12-nation zone posted a full-year trade surplus of 102.3 billion euros (US$109.6 billion), compared to a surplus of 49.5 billion in 2001. For the full 15-member EU, the trade surplus came to 6.1 billion euros in 2002, against a deficit of 42.7 billion one year earlier. EU results were dragged down by Britain's trade balance, which posted a deficit of 63.6 billion euros. "In both zones, improvement of the 2002 trade balance compared to 2001 is explained mainly by a drop in imports, which fell by 4%," Eurostat said. Exports grew by just 1%, the statistics service said. The cut in imports was partly a result of lower energy prices but also a reflection of weaker European economic activity last year. By country, Germany showed the biggest euro-zone surplus at 117.9 billion euros, followed by Ireland with 35.4 billion. Spain posted the biggest euro-zone deficit at 33.1 billion euros. Britain, Denmark and Sweden belong to the European Union, but not to the euro zone. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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