Eurozone growth steady, no protectionist hit to trade

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By Euronews
Eurozone growth steady, no protectionist hit to trade

There was steady rather than spectacular growth by the eurozone economy in the first three months of the year. It expanded 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, with Q1 up 1.7 percent year-on-year.

The best performer of the 19 countries in the currency bloc was Finland with 1.6 percent growth.

Of the four largest eurozone nations, Spain was top with 0.8 percent, followed by Germany at 0.6 percent. France managed 0.3 percent and Italy just 0.2 percent.

Greece was the only country to suffer a decline in output, falling 0.1 percent.

The figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, confirmed that the eurozone performed better than the US in the first quarter. According to Eurostat, the US economy expanded by 0.2 percent in that period.

Trade surplus expands

At the same time we learned the eurozone increased its trade surplus with the rest of the world in March.

Both exports and imports rose markedly, showing no hit so far to global commerce from protectionist calls, such as from US President Donald Trump.

Eurostat said the euro area recorded a 30.9 billion euro surplus in March in its goods trade balance with states outside the bloc, according to data not adjusted for seasonal factors.

The March surplus is nearly double that of February when the bloc has a positive balance of 17.8 billion euros, and also higher than a year earlier when the surplus was 28.2 billion euros.

Driven by Germany, the eurozone expanded its exports by 13 percent in March on a yearly basis to a total value of 202.3 billion euros, unadjusted figures show.

Imports to the bloc also increased by 14 percent, although from a lower basis.

The EU increased its exports to all major trade partners in the first quarter of this year, with a 28 percent surge in sales to Russia and 22 percent increase in exports to China.

Imports from China grew only 3 percent, reducing the EU trade deficit with Beijing to 41.7 billion euros from 47.3 billion euros a year ago.