January 15, 2019 / 10:10 AM / 10 months ago

Euro zone trade surplus declines in November, energy imports rise

FILE PHOTO: Lines of trucks at Italy's biggest container port Gioia Tauro in the southern Italian region of Calabria are seen from a helicopter, November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world declined in November from a year earlier, data released on Tuesday showed, due to a sharp rise of imports.

European Union statistics office Eurostat said on Tuesday that the trade surplus of the 19-nation euro zone was 19.0 billion euros (£16.89 billion) on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down from 23.4 billion euros in November 2017.

Imports were up 4.7 percent, while exports rose a more modest 1.9 percent.

The trade balance was also down by a similar percentage for the 11 months to November.

Eurostat does not provide a breakdown of figures for the euro zone, but for the EU as a whole, energy imports were 25 percent higher in Jan-Nov 2018 than a year earlier. Exports of energy rose by 17 percent. For other product types, there was no major mismatch between the growth rates of exports and of imports.

Over the same 11 month period, the EU’s trade surplus with the United States and its deficit with China both grew. The EU’s trade deficits with its main energy suppliers Russia and Norway also increased.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus actually increased to 15.1 billion euros from 13.5 billion euros in October. Exports decreased by 1.0 percent, while imports fell by 1.9 percent.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop

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