France reports record trade deficit

9th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 9, 2007 (AFP) - France reported Friday a big increase in its trade deficit to a record of 29.2 billion euros (37 billion dollars), but Trade Minister Christine Lagarde blamed high oil prices.

PARIS, Feb 9, 2007 (AFP) - France reported Friday a big increase in its trade deficit to a record of 29.2 billion euros (37 billion dollars), but Trade Minister Christine Lagarde blamed high oil prices.

Excluding the effect of oil imports, a surplus on other trade had risen for the first time since 2002, she said, and exports had been worth a record of 387 billion euros.

The customs service said that the overall deficit in 2006 was 29.2 billion euros after a deficit of 23.0 billion euros in 2005, on a revised basis.

Lagarde said that this reflected "a worsening of the oil bill".

*sidebar1*She said: "Excluding the oil bill, we are not only in surplus but also our trade balance rose for the first time since 2002".

At the end of January, Economy and Finance Minister Thierry Breton had made the same point, saying that the cost of oil imported into France in 2006 would turn out to be 46.0 billion euros.

Economists have expressed concern for several months that data for the balance of payments and the trade balance could point to a structural problem of competitiveness in France.

Lagarde said on Friday that the figure for total exports last year was "historically the highest ever."

She told the newspaper Les Echos that export activity supported more than five million jobs in France.

In December alone, the trade balance showed a deficit of 2.9 billion euros after a deficit, revised downards, of 2.7 billion euros in November, on an adjusted basis by the customs service.

In December, exports eased slightly to 32.5 billion euros from 32.7 billion euros in November, as did imports to 35.37 billion euros from 35.40 billion euros.

The customs service said that this could be explained by a slight fall in the number of Airbus aircraft delivered and a fall in sales of autos.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Trade deficit

0 Comments To This Article