Weak aircraft exports hit official French trade balance
Weak exports by the aerospace and satellite industry hit the French trade balance in May, worsening a deficit, official data showed on Wednesday.
The balance showed a deficit in May of 5.5 billion euros (6.9 billion dollars) from a deficit of 4.258 billion euros in April, the adjusted data from the finance ministry showed.
The trade balance is an important measure of the ability of a nation to pay its way in the world, and the net outcome is also an important contributor to growth if the balance is in surplus, or drag if it is in deficit.
Two particularly significant elements of French trade are exports of food products and of aircraft, mainly Airbus airliners for which parts are made in several countries in Europe.
The ministry said on its web site that exports in May suffered from a "weak level of final deliveries of Airbus (aircraft) and of satellites."
It said that a confluence of circumstances had pulled sales in the aerospace and space sector down to a low level after an excellent performance in April.
In addition, exports of refined oil products to other countries in the European Union had fallen and this lay behind a "brutal drop in industrial exports."
In May, exports fell to 29.9 billion euros from 31.5 billion euros in April.
Imports fell to 35.4 billion euros from 38.8 billion euros in April.
In the 12 months to the end of May, the cumulative trade balance showed a deficit of 45.8 billion euros.
A main pillar of growth of the French economy in recent years has been domestic consumption.
© 2010 AFP