April 7, 2016 / 6:57 AM / 3 years ago

French February trade deficit widest since August 2014

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s trade deficit widened in February to 5.2 billion euros (4 billion pounds), the biggest since August 2014, seasonally adjusted data published on Thursday by the customs office showed.

General view of shipping containers which are stacked in the port of Marseille, France, March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

After a deficit of 3.9 billion euros in January, revised from a preliminary estimate of 3.7 billion, the trade balance deteriorated sharply in February as imports surged on the delivery of inputs for the French car and aerospace industries from abroad, while overall exports dipped, the customs office said.

The trade deficit weighed heavily on the current account, pushing it to a deficit of 3.9 billion euros in February - the biggest since June 2014 - wider than the 2.2 billion in January, the Bank of France said separately. It revised the January deficit from a preliminary estimate of 1.4 billion euros.

KEY DATA:

Feb Jan

Import Export Balance Import Export Balance

Trade 43.309 38.132 -5.177 42.132 38.223 -3.909

(adjusted)

Trade 41.934 37.261 -4.673 39.150 34.559 -4.591

(unadjusted)

BACKGROUND

France has run a trade deficit every month since May 2004 as French firms have seen their share of international markets dwindle in the face of declining competitiveness. France posted its biggest monthly deficit in April 2011 with a trade gap of 7.024 billion euros.

GRAPHICS

Monthly balance, imports and exports: link.reuters.com/tak56s

Breakdown by main partners and sectors: link.reuters.com/dyv95s

Share of international trade: link.reuters.com/hek46s

($1 = 0.8740 euros)

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by James Regan

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