Eurozone May balance of payments in deficit: ECB

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The eurozone's balance of payments slipped further in May to a deficit of 5.8 billion euros (7.5 billion dollars), the European Central Bank said Monday as member countries struggled with deficits and debt.

The balance of payments, which includes payments for imports and exports of trade in goods and services, is a closely tracked indicator of a country's or area's ability to pay its way in the world.

It is crucial for the long-term confidence of investors and trading partners.

In April, the eurozone measure had posted a deficit of 5.6 billion euros, revised data from the ECB showed, demonstrating a lack of competitiveness by the 16-nation bloc as a whole.

The overall figure for the eurozone combines surpluses from strong exporting nations such as Germany with the balances of countries which have structural external deficits.

The figures are often amended, and the April figure was initially reported as a deficit of 5.1 billion euros.

A breakdown of the data showed that seasonally-adjusted exports of goods rose to 131.6 billion euros in May from 124.4 billion in April, while imports rose to 128.5 billion euros from 123.8 billion.

On the financial account, the ECB reported net inflows of 47 billion euros in May however as more money was invested into eurozone assets than was placed abroad by eurozone companies and institutions, despite concern over the debt crisis.

On a 12-month cumulative basis, the eurozone's seasonally adjusted current account showed a provisional deficit of 43.9 billion euros, or around 0.5 percent of the eurozone's gross domestic product (GDP).

© 2010 AFP

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