Euro area trade surplus rose to €11.7B in December from €8B a year ago, fell from €13B in November; EU trade deficit widened to €700M from €200M deficit a year ago, narrowed from November's deficit of €1.9B

BRUSSELS , February 15, 2013 (press release) –

The first estimate for the euro area1 (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in December 2012 gave a 11.7 bn euro surplus, compared with +8.0 bn in December 2011. The November 20122 balance was +13.0 bn, compared with +4.9 bn in November 2011. In December 2012 compared with November 2012, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 1.8% and imports by 3.0%. These data3 are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The first estimate for the December 2012 extra-EU271 trade in goods balance was a 0.7 bn euro deficit, compared with -0.2 bn in December 2011. The November 20122 balance was -1.9 bn, compared with -9.3 bn in November 2011. In December 2012 compared with November 2012, seasonally adjusted exports decreased by 1.9% and imports by 1.6%.

During 2012, euro area trade in goods recorded a surplus of 81.8 bn euro, compared with -15.7 bn in 2011. The EU27 recorded a deficit of 104.6 bn in 2012, compared with -162.7 bn in 2011.

EU27 detailed results for January to November 2012

The EU27 deficit for energy increased (-388.6 bn euro in January-November 2012 compared with -354.6 bn in January-November 2011), as did the surplus for manufactured goods (+330.8 bn compared with +224.9 bn).

EU27 exports to most of its major partners grew in January-November 2012 compared with January-November 2011, except for India (-5%) and Switzerland (-3%). The most notable increases were recorded for exports to South Korea (+17%), Russia and Japan (both +15%), the USA (+13%) and Brazil (+11%). As regards EU27 imports, the pattern was mixed. The largest increases were recorded for imports from Switzerland (+14%), Norway (+9%) and the USA (+8%), and the largest falls with India and Japan (both -7%).

The EU27 trade surplus increased with the USA (+80.2 bn euro in January-November 2012 compared with +64.6 bn in January-November 2011) and Turkey (+25.3 bn compared with +22.9 bn), but fell with Switzerland (+25.8 bn compared with +41.9 bn). The EU27 trade deficit declined with China (-135.3 bn compared with -146.9 bn), Russia (-81.2 bn compared with -83.3 bn) and Japan (-8.2 bn compared with -19.1 bn), but rose with Norway
(-46.7 bn compared with -42.1 bn).

Concerning the total trade of Member States, the largest surplus was observed in Germany (+174.6 bn euro in January-November 2012), followed by the Netherlands (+46.0 bn), Ireland (+39.9 bn) and the Czech Republic (+12.1 bn). The United Kingdom (-152.9 bn) registered the largest deficit, followed by France (-75.2 bn), Spain
(-30.0 bn) and
Greece (-19.0 bn).

EA17 trade - non seasonally adjusted data bn euro

Flows

Dec 11

Dec 12

Growth

Nov 11

Nov 12

Growth

Jan-Dec 11

Jan-Dec 12

Growth

Extra-EA17 exports

148.0

143.4

-3%

155.8

 

164.0

r

5%

 

1 740.4

1 868.6

7%

Extra-EA17 imports

140.0

131.7

-6%

150.9

 

150.9

r

0%

 

1 756.1

1 786.8

2%

Extra-EA17 trade balance

8.0

11.7

 

4.9

 

13.0

r

   

-15.7

81.8

 

Intra-EA17 dispatches4

124.4

115.5

-7%

139.8

 

139.9

r

0%

r

1 619.1

1 613.5

0%

EU27 trade - non seasonally adjusted data bn euro

Flows

Dec 11

Dec 12

Growth

Nov 11

Nov 12

Growth

Jan-Dec 11

Jan-Dec 12

Growth

Extra-EU27 exports

137.9

132.6

-4%

139.0

 

146.6

 

5%

 

1 558.9

1 686.2

8%

Extra-EU27 imports

138.0

133.3

-3%

148.4

 

148.5

r

0%

 

1 721.7

1 790.8

4%

Extra-EU27 trade balance

-0.2

-0.7

 

-9.3

 

-1.9

r

   

-162.7

-104.6

 

Intra-EU27 dispatches4

215.1

201.5

-6%

245.3

 

247.1

r

1%

 

2 804.8

2 822.1

1%

r: revised

  • The euro area (EA17) consists of Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

The EU27 includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

  • Compared with News Release 7/2013 of 15 January 2013, the trade balance for November 2012 has been revised from +13.7 bn euro to +13.0 bn for the EA17 and from -1.7 bn to -1.9 bn for the EU27.

  • This News Release is based on data available on 12 February 2013. These are provisional figures based on information provided by Member States. They are subject to frequent revision for up to two years after the month in question. Furthermore, national concepts may differ from the harmonised methodology used by Eurostat, leading to differences between figures in this release and those published nationally, both for raw data and for seasonally adjusted series.

  • Since the introduction of Intrastat for intra-EU trade on 1 January 1993, the value of dispatches has been consistently higher than that of arrivals. In theory, as dispatches are declared FOB and arrivals CIF, the value of arrivals should be slightly higher than that of dispatches. Eurostat uses dispatches as the more reliable measure of total intra-EU trade as, at aggregated levels, total dispatches has better coverage than total arrivals. Due to this divergence in intra-EU trade, and to the difficulties of interpreting figures in absolute terms at the level of individual Member States, trade balances for individual Member States must be interpreted with caution. The same caution applies to the trade balance of the euro area, which includes some intra-EU trade.

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