EU logs big trade surplus: official data
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January 25 2013, 04:38AM
BRUSSELS, Jan 24 AFP - The European Union showed a trade surplus of 28.8 billion euros ($A36.6 billion) for the third quarter of 2012, with a big increase in the contribution from trade in services compared to the level 12 months ago, official data showed on Thursday.
The figures from the Eurostat statistics agency marked a sharp turnaround on a 12-month basis for the trade performance.
The external current account for the 27 European Union states that make up the world's biggest tariff-free market of half a billion people showed the surplus, equivalent to $US38.4 billion ($A36.6 billion), in contrast to a deficit of 6.8 billion euros in the corresponding period of 2011.
A trade surplus boosts growth, while a deficit is a drag on growth in other parts of the economy.
A detailed second estimate showed the deficit in goods trading shrank considerably, year-on-year, to just 2.6 billion euros from 34.6 billion, while the surplus in services trading shot up from 31.1 billion euros to 39.3 billion euros.
Improved exchange-rate conditions over the intervening period helped the EU record surpluses with the United States (34.1 billion euros), Switzerland (15.1 billion), Hong Kong (7.8 billion), Brazil (7.4 billion), Canada (5.0 billion) and India (1.4 billion).
By far the biggest deficit was with China (30.1 billion), with other key trading partners in Russia (6.7 billion) and Japan (5.4 billion) also returning high deficits.