France's trade deficit widens on weak euro, higher oil prices

14:26, August 07, 2010      

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France's trade deficit widened to 24.5 billion euros (32.2 billion US dollars) in the first half of this year on soaring energy costs and a weak euro, official data released Friday showed.

The trade deficit in the previous six-month period was 20.4 billion euros (26.8 billion U.S. dollars).

"The widening trade deficit was due mainly to higher energy costs following the combined effect of the euro depreciation against the dollar and the rising price of Brent (calculated in dollars)," said Anne-Marie Idrac, the minister of state in charge of foreign trade.

The energy bill stood at 23.2 billion euros (30.5 billion dollars) as the price of imported petroleum products soared, compared with 20.1 billion euros (26.6 billion dollars) in the second half of 2009.

Total exports in the first half grew 10 percent year on year to 187 billion euros (246 billion U.S. dollars), but the growth was still outpaced by the increase in imports in the same period.

Aeronautic sales abroad, the key growth engine, jumped 10.4 percent, led by Airbus' increasing orders. Automobile exports also rose.

France kept its share market in the OECD market (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Exports to emerging markets rose, with a growth of 36 percent for China and 51 percent for Brazil.

Idrac said the outlook for 2010 remained favorable with continued growth in exports.

"France will continue to benefit from the improvement of the price competitiveness" of the euro as its exchange rate stabilizes. The effects will be seen fully in second half of 2010 and 2011, especially in emerging markets, she said.

Source: Xinhua


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