The European Union (EU) external current account recorded a deficit of 50.8 billion euros (71 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2009, down from a deficit of 57.3 billion euros in the previous quarter, the EU's statistics bureau Eurostat said on Thursday.
But the figure rose from a deficit of 46.2 billion euros in the first quarter of 2008.
In the first quarter of 2009, the EU external balance of trade in services recorded a surplus of 15.3 billion euros, compared with a surplus of 18.5 billion euros in the first quarter of 2008 and a surplus of 17.1 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the provisional figures from Eurostat.
Against the backdrop of the worst world recession since the Second World War, global trade is expected to shrink and the EU is suffering from dwindling demand from the outside. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.71 euro)