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Economy in Brief

EMU Trade Surplus Shrinks
by Robert Brusca January 15, 2010

Exports in the Euro-Area faltered and fell in November, dropping for the second month in a row. Even so over three months export growth is at a strong 16.8% pace and is steadily accelerating. Imports are at a three month annual rate of 8.5% and also are accelerating. Despite the relatively better export performance since exports have dropped for two months running there is concern about export prospects. With the drop in exports this month as imports advanced the e-Zone trade surplus naturally receded.

Globally export volume trends are still tuning higher and the pace appears to be accelerating. In the e-Zone Germany’s Yr/Yr export volume performance improved marked between October and November, improving from a Yr/Yr growth rate of -14% to -3%. The UK (an EU country) and Japan also made substantial improvements in that period. US trade made its surge earlier, from August to September.

But for the Zone as a whole exports are not so clearly on better footing even though they are improving on trend. It could be that the Zone countries are simply improving at different speeds and that prevents the overall assessment from improving as rapidly as in the individual large G-10 countries where exports appear to be doing much better.

The trends continue to favor positive appraisals of e-Zone trade but the last two months’ exports have raised some concerns.

Euro-Area TradeTrends For Goods
  m/m% % Saar
  Nov-09 Oct-09 3M 6M 12M
Balance* €  3,926  €   4,726  €   4,142  €   3,610  €   1,098
Exports
All Exp -0.4% -0.1% 16.8% 10.8% -9.3%
Food and Drinks -- -1.8% -1.9% -5.9% -13.4%
Raw materials -- 4.0% 29.7% 17.2% -6.3%
MFG -- 1.7% 24.2% 6.5% -16.3%
IMPORTS
All IMP 0.3% -1.0% 8.5% 5.7% -16.1%
Food and Drinks -- -5.3% -16.4% -14.2% -11.8%
Raw materials -- 1.5% 82.1% 12.9% -32.9%
MFG -- -1.6% -3.0% -4.6% -18.2%
*Eur mlns; mo or period average; Gray shaded areas lag one month
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