The euro zone recorded an external trade surplus of 0.4 billion euros in March after a deficit of 1 billion euros in February, first official estimates showed in Monday.
In the same month last year, it was a deficit of 2.3 billion euros.
Compared with February, seasonally adjusted exports rose in March by 1.4 percent and imports by 0.6 percent, according to the European Union (EU) statistics agency Eurostat.
The first estimate for the 27-nation EU trade balance was a deficit of 9.5 billion euros in March, compared with a deficit of 19.6 billion euros in March 2008.
In February, the balance was a deficit of 10.8 billion euros, compared with 13.3 billion in February 2008.
Seasonally adjusted exports rose by 2.5 percent and imports by 0.7 percent in March month-on-month.
The EU energy deficit decreased from a year ago's minus 58 billion euros to minus 38.6 billion euros in January-February, while the surplus fell for chemicals from 13.6 billion euros to 10.1 billion and for machinery and vehicles from 21.9 billion to 11.3 billion.
EU trade flows with all of its major partners fell, said the agency.
Exports to Turkey fell by 41 percent in January-February on a yearly basis, followed by Russia at 37 percent, South Korea at 33 percent and India at 31 percent, and for imports from Russia dropped by 39 percent, Turkey by 30 percent, Norway and Brazil both by 28 percent.
The EU trade surplus fell with the United States from 11.7 billion euros to 4.2 billion in January-February year-on-year, and with Switzerland fell from 3.1 billion to 2.2 billion.
The EU trade deficit decreased with Russia from 12.5 billion to 7.2 billion in the same period, with Norway from 8.5 billion to 6.0 billion, with Japan from 5.3 billion to 3.7 billion.
The deficit fell slightly from 28.3 billion to 28.1 billion, according to the Eurostat.
The largest surplus was observed in Germany with 15.8 billion euros in January-February, followed by the Netherlands with 6.3 billion and Ireland with 5.6 billion.
Britain recorded the biggest deficit in the first two month of 2009 with 16.0 billion, followed by France with 10.6 billion, Spain with 10.3 billion.