French trade balance dips into red

11th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 11 (AFP) - France's trade balance dropped into the red last year, posting a deficit of EUR 7.765 billion (USD 10 billion) following three years of surplus, corrected figures released Friday by the customs service showed.

PARIS, Feb 11 (AFP) - France's trade balance dropped into the red last year, posting a deficit of EUR 7.765 billion (USD 10 billion) following three years of surplus, corrected figures released Friday by the customs service showed.

The fall was the result of higher prices for oil and steel, as well as a rise in imports on the heels of economic growth, junior trade minister Francois Loos told France 2 television shortly before the customs figures were unveiled.

In December, the trade deficit amounted to EUR 1.892 billion, customs officials said.

The last time France posted a trade deficit was in 2000, when it amounted to EUR 4.2 billion.

Customs figures revised the country's trade surplus for 2003, trimming it to EUR 1.688 billion from a previous figure of EUR 4 billion, in part owing to new methods of calculation that gave greater weight to imports.

In 2002, France had posted a surplus of EUR 7 billion according to the previous method of calculation.

Loos tried to put a positive spin on the figures, telling France 2: "We have a deficit, but a dynamic deficit," that was the result of domestic economic growth boosting imports.

"The United States has an enormous deficit and growth of 4.5 percent. The two countries in Europe with the strongest growth at present, Britain and Spain, are also those with the biggest trade deficits," he noted.

"The good news is that we have increased exports to Asia by 11 percent and to India by 30 percent."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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