Euro zone trade surplus rises but far from 2019 volumes

FILE PHOTO: Containers and cars are loaded on freight trains at the railroad shunting yard in Maschen near Hamburg September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro zone’s trade surplus rose in May from April as lockdowns around the world began to ease, but it was less than half the size of the previous year, estimates from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Thursday.

Eurostat said the 19 countries sharing the euro had a combined external trade surplus of 9.4 billion euros in May, up from 2.9 billion in April, but down from the 20.7 billion posted in May 2019.

Year-on-year the bloc’s exports plunged by 29.5% to 143.3 billion euros, while imports fell by 26.7% to 133.9 billion euros.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the euro zone had a trade surplus of 8 billion, up from 1.6 billion in April.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by John Chalmers