BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s surplus for goods traded with the rest of the world fell by less than forecast in June, European statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday, suggesting the bloc may be weathering international trade frictions better than expected.
While fears of a disruptive trade war between the EU and the United States spooked markets in the second quarter of the year, such concerns subsided after U.S. President Donald Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck a deal last month.
Eurostat said the 19-country currency bloc had a goods trade surplus of 22.5 billion euros (£20.11 billion) in June, down from 25.7 billion a year earlier, but well above the 18 billion euros expected in a Reuters poll of seven economists.
While imports into the euro zone increased by 8.6 percent in June, exports were 5.7 percent higher.
For the European Union as a whole, exports to the United States increased by 3.9 percent in the first half of 2018, while imports fell by 2.4, widening the EU’s trade surplus with its largest trading partner.
The data adds to a string of better economic news for the bloc after some downbeat signals earlier. On Tuesday, Eurostat revised up its estimate for economic growth in the euro zone in the second quarter.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Foo Yun Chee)