Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Europe recorded the biggest trade deficit in 2008 since the euro’s introduction 10 years ago as higher oil prices boosted energy costs and the global financial crisis curtailed exports.
The region’s trade deficit of 32.1 billion euros ($40.5 billion) compared with a surplus of 15.8 billion euros in 2007, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today.
The spreading of the global recession is curbing demand for European products, adding to pressure on the economy, which shrank the most in 15 years in the fourth quarter. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, said deliveries fell about 20 percent last month and that sales in the export markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China have been “particularly hit” by the credit freeze.
“Extremely weak global economic activity seems certain to hit euro zone exporters hard,” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight in London. “Sharply contracting domestic demand in the U.K. and the U.S., as well as substantially slowing activity in emerging Europe, is particularly bad news.”
In December, exports fell a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent from November, the report showed. Imports declined 3.9 percent from the previous month. The deficit narrowed to 300 million euros in December from 4 billion euros in November.
The euro remained lower against the dollar after today’s report. The currency traded at $1.2643 as of 10:56 a.m. in London, down from $1.2801 in New York yesterday.
Exports to the U.S., the second-biggest buyer of euro area goods, fell 5 percent in the 11 months through November from a year earlier. Sales to the U.K., the main destination for the region’s products, dropped 3 percent. Detailed data are published with a one-month lag.
Sales to China rose 10 percent in the 11-month period, slower than the 15 percent pace recorded in the first half of the year. Exports to Russia grew 16 percent, compared with 20 percent in the first half.
“In past years, investments in China, India and the Middle East led to strong demand for European capital goods,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Groep NV in Brussels. “That demand has collapsed” and “will continue in the next months if you look at the new orders.”
Daimler AG, the world’s second-biggest maker of luxury cars, reported its first quarterly loss since 2007 today and said it will cut production as sales decline. Rotterdam Port, Europe’s largest seaport, expects decline of as much a 8 percent in throughput this year, as demand for consumer electronics, machinery and oil products weakens across the region.
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) - Europa registró el mayor déficit comercial en 2008 desde la introducción del euro como hace 10 años los altos precios del petróleo impulsó los costes de la energía y la crisis financiera mundial redujo las exportaciones.
La región del déficit comercial de 32,1 millones de euros ($ 40,5 millones) en comparación con un superávit de 15,8 millones de euros en 2007, la Unión Europea en Luxemburgo la oficina de estadísticas dijo hoy.
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