Italy reported on May 23 a big cut in its trade deficit with countries outside the European Union in April to 904 million euros (US$1.14 billion) from 2.516 billion euros in April of last year.
The national statistics institute Istat which published the data said that imports fell by 8.1% on weak internal demand. Italy entered recession at the end of 2011. Exports grew by 2.3%, however.
A deficit on the energy account grew slightly to 5.71 billion euros from 5.109 billion euros, but on the non-energy account a surplus grew strongly to 4.567 billion euros from 2.593 billion euros.
Imports from Japan fell by 29.3% and from China by 28.9%.
Meanwhile exports to Japan rose by 34.2%, to OPEC oil producing countries by 22.1%, to Switzerland by 12.4% and to the United States by 8.3%.
Exports to China fell by 13.8%.
The latest Italian data indicated that part of the improvement reflected recessionary tendencies in the Italian economy, but also an improved performance on foreign markets outside the EU.
Eurozone countries in difficulty, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and now Italy have reported a marked improvement in their trade balances recently.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012