French trade deficit widens to 20-month high
France's trade deficit widened in February to a 20-month high of 5.2 billion euros ($5.6 bn), up 1.3 billion on the previous month, driven by higher auto and aerospace imports, the customs office said Thursday.
"Exports edged down (off 0.2 percent after a a 0.5 percent January rise) while imports rose," by 2.8 percent after a 0.6-percent January increase, the office of eurozone's second largest economy said.
The trade deficit helped to expand the current-account deficit to 3.9 billion euros in February from a revised 2.2 billion in January, the French central bank said, while noting export performance had been "particularly strong" in January.
The latest data show direct foreign investment in France, at 4.4 billion euros, topped French investment abroad of 1.7 billion in February.
The current account balance is a useful indicator of economic performance in going beyond mere exchange of goods, France having run a trade deficit consistently over the past decade.
© 2016 AFP