The euro region’s trade surplus narrowed more than economists estimated in February as increased demand for imported goods outpaced exports.
The surplus shrank to a seasonally adjusted 3.7 billion euros ($4.8 billion) from a revised 5.3 billion euros in January, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast a drop to 5 billion euros, the median of eight projections in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Imports increased 3.5 percent in the month, while exports were up 2.4 percent.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on April 4 that, while economic-growth indicators had “broadly stabilized at low levels” after a 0.3 percent contraction in the fourth quarter, the outlook “remains subject to downside risks.” The European Commission forecasts a 0.3 percent contraction in 2012.
The euro was little changed after the data were released, trading at $1.3014 at 11:10 a.m. in Brussels, down 0.5 percent.
In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, imports grew 3 percent in February, exports increased 1.4 percent and the trade surplus narrowed 3 percent to 10.5 billion euros, today’s report showed. France reported a surplus of 900 million euros, while Italy’s trade deficit shrank to 1.2 billion euros.
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