The euro zone November trade balance data were released today showing a larger trade surplus, helped by growing exports to more than twice the rate of imports. Expectations of a trade deficit were blown off by the 6.9 billion trade surplus and boosted hopes that Europe’s economy may be steadying after a sharp slowdown.
The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat reported that the euro zone generated a 6.9 billion euro surplus in November on an annual basis, in non-adjusted terms, versus a 2.3 billion euro deficit in November 2010, while forecasts were for a trade deficit of 1.5 billion euros for the month.
Exports grew more than imports by a surprising 10 percent, suggesting that demand in the resilient U.S. and Asian economies and a weaker euro may be helping exporters even as the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis kills off business confidence and investment.
The trade data may indicate some signs that the slump that began over the European summer may be ending its freefall. Imports were flat in November from October on a seasonally-adjusted basis, Eurostat said, ending two consecutive months of decreases in the goods coming into the region.
ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday he saw “tentative signs” of stabilisation in recent economic indicators but it was too soon to expect a turnaround.