May 18, 2018 / 8:08 AM / 8 months ago

Euro zone exports and imports decline in March

FILE PHOTO: A container ship is seen at the shipping terminal Eurokai in the Port of Hamburg, Germany November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone imports and exports declined in March, data released on Friday showed, adding to evidence that trade tensions may be reining in global commerce.

Exports of goods from the 19-country bloc fell by 2.9 percent, while imports were 2.5 percent lower than a year ago, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat said on Friday.

The World Trade Organization said on Thursday that trade tensions may be starting to hold back global merchandise trade, as it published an outlook indicator showing growth was above trend this quarter but slowing down.

The euro zone’s trade surplus was 26.9 billion euros (23.5 billion pounds) in March, compared with 18.9 billion euros in February and 28.5 billion euros in March 2017.

Adjusted to take into account seasonal effects, exports were up 0.8 percent month-on-month, while imports were 0.7 percent higher. However, both seasonally adjusted exports and imports in March were below the levels of November, December and January.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop

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