Rome - Italy's trade balance showed a
surplus of €2.52bn ($3.09bn) in June compared to a €1.7bn deficit
a year earlier, suggesting the economy is doing better than
Exports rose 5.5%, driven by energy
products. Imports fell by 7.1%, owing to weak internal demand as
Italians continued to be hit hard by high unemployment and tax hikes
as they battle through a recession.
Exports outside the European Union rose
by 12.3%. Exports to Japan were up 38%, to the United States, 35.4%
and to oil producing countries in OPEC by 33%, the National Institute
of Statistics said.
The decline in imports was largely due
to a drop in demand for cars, down 26.3%, and textiles, down 19.6%.
In May, the trade balance over 12
months showed a surplus of €1.01bn.
"The drop in the purchase of cars
from Germany, chemical products from Belgium and computers from China
accounts for almost 25% of the downturn in imports," Istat said
in a statement accompanying the figures.
Italy entered recession at the end of
2011. The economy shrank by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2012,
showing that the contraction is easing slightly but the country still
continues to wallow in recession.
Italy is in the process of enacting
deep reforms to put over-stretched public finances on a sustainable
basis and to restructure the economy. On Tuesday, lawmakers approved
€26bn worth of spending cutbacks.
The trade balance has an important
effect on a country's ability to pay its way in the world, as
measured by the overall balance of payments, and also on the
potential of the economy to grow.
A trade surplus is a factor of growth
and countries in the eurozone, such as Italy, which are struggling to
correct public finances and restructure their economies, are aiming
to strengthen their external trade balances.
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