Euro-Zone Posts Trade Surplus In May

EU statistics agency said Friday the 16 nations that use the euro posted a $2.68 billion trade surplus in May as imports fell faster than exports compared with a year ago.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The 16 nations that use the euro posted a euro1.9 billion ($2.68 billion) trade surplus in May as imports fell faster than exports compared with a year ago, the EU statistics agency said Friday.

Global trade is slowing as companies and households cut back spending in the worst economic downturn in 60 years.

Euro-zone nations, including the world's biggest exporter Germany, had euro97.7 billion in foreign sales in May, a 24 percent drop from the same month in 2008. Imports fell faster, by 27 percent, to euro95.8 billion.

Eurostat did not give details for May but said that in April trade with the euro-zone's main export markets were all down from last year.

Britain, the biggest buyer of euro-zone goods, bought 27 percent less than last year as the weaker pound made euro purchases far more expensive. Euro-zone exports to the United States were also down 22 percent. Sales to Russia contracted more sharply, by 37 percent.

Imports also shrank, down 7 percent from the euro area's leading supplier, China, down 8 percent from the U.S. and 29 percent from Britain. Russian imports plunged 42 percent as oil and gas prices slumped from last year.

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