Spain trade deficit shrinks 59 pct in May

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The trade deficit widens to EUR 3.27 billion in May 2009 compared to the same period a year ago.

Madrid – Spain's trade deficit narrowed sharply by 59 percent in May compared to the same period last year as imports dropped due to the country's sharp economic downturn, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

The trade deficit – the gap by which a country's imports exceed its exports – reached EUR 3.27 billion in May, it said in a statement.

Imports fell 34.3 percent during the month over the previous year to EUR 16.16 billion while exports dropped 22.4 percent to EUR 12.89 billion.

During the first five months of the year the trade deficit fell by 51.2 percent to EUR 20.92 billion, with imports down 32.5 percent and a drop in exports of 22.8 percent.

The Spanish economy, the fifth largest in Europe, entered its first recession in 15 years at the end of 2008 as the outbreak of the global financial crisis hastened a correction that was already underway in its once-buoyant property sector.

The downturn sent the unemployment rate soaring to 18.1 percent in April, more than double the average for the European Union, leading to a drop in consumer demand.

The government predicts the economy will contract by 3.6 percent this year and by 0.3 percent next year before returning to growth in 2011.

AFP / Expatica

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