By Xavier Fontdegloria
The eurozone posted a record-high trade deficit in 2022 as prices for imported energy soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The eurozone’s trade deficit in goods–the difference between exports and imports–was 314.7 billion euros ($337.88 billion) in 2022, swinging from a EUR116.4 billion surplus a year earlier.
The deficit was driven by a 37.5% increase in imports and a more than an 18% rise in exports. As a net importer of energy and raw materials, the eurozone paid a higher bill particularly for natural gas and oil last year, rapidly erasing the surplus it regularly runs.
In December, the trade deficit was EUR18.1 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis, widening from the EUR14.4 billion deficit registered in November. Eurozone exports decreased 4.6% on month, signaling weakening global demand for European-made goods, while imports fell 2.9%.
Data for the bigger European Union showed the trade deficit was EUR653.6 billion in 2022, sharply widening from the EUR285.8 billion deficit a year earlier.
By country, the EU’s trade deficit widened sharply with China, India, Russia, Norway and South Korea. The EU posted a trade surplus with the U.S. and the U.K., albeit smaller than that recorded in 2021, the data showed.
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