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Economy in Brief

EMU Trade Deficit Widens: Exports and Imports Collapse
by Robert Brusca January 16, 2009

The EMU trade deficit widened in November as exports fell by 4.7%. Imports also dropped but by 2.5% causing the deficit to widen. The table above is replete with negative numbers denoting declining export and import flows. The global downturn is hitting trade hard on both the export and the import side. Among exports raw materials and manufactured goods are both being hit hard. On the import side weakness is in oil imports but spreads across all groupings.

Over 12-months exports are lower by 5.1% and imports are off by 0.1%. In contrast a year before exports had risen over 12-months by 6.8% and imports were up by 7.7%. Even in Yr/Yr terms the slowdown is rapid and that is why the economic dislocations are so severe.

The figures for EMU are of course figures for EMU member trade outside of the block. The various national figures also include intra-EMU state trading. EMU countries are very prone to trade. Since these flows are slowing down it is hitting a lot of EMU economies very hard. Germany, the largest exporter in the world, is being clobbered by export weakness. German exports are down by 9% Yr/Yr in November, nearly twice the EMU pace. The trade picture is a bleak one for EMU members.

Ezone 15-Trade trends for goods
  m/m% % Saar
  Nov-08 Oct-08 3M 6M 12M 12M Ago
Balance* €€ (4,891) €€ (2,122) €€ (4,154) €€ (4,800) €€ 2,124 €€ (1,483)
Exports            
All Exp -4.7% -2.8% -22.6% -10.8% -5.3% 6.8%
Food and Drinks -3.0% 0.9% -5.2% -3.3% 1.6% 12.9%
Raw materials -13.0% -3.2% -58.8% -34.9% -12.2% -0.2%
Other -4.6% -3.0% -22.6% -10.6% -5.7% 6.6%
MFG -4.0% -1.6% -22.8% -10.8% -6.6% 4.2%
IMPORTS            
All IMP -2.5% -5.1% -24.5% -5.6% -0.1% 7.7%
Food and Drinks -2.9% -1.3% -12.4% -7.8% -3.7% 18.0%
Raw materials -0.4% -4.5% -6.7% 4.8% 8.3% 1.4%
Other -2.6% -5.3% -26.0% -6.1% -0.3% 7.4%
MFG -0.5% -2.3% -12.9% -1.8% -1.3% 3.6%
*Eur mlns; mo or period average    
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