The eurozone’s trade surplus widened in March, but that was driven by a decline in imports rather than a rise in
exports, a sign that domestic demand may have weakened as the first quarter drew to a close.
Figures released last week showed the eurozone’s economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter from the fourth, an annualized
rate of 2.1% that marked a pickup from the final three months of 2015.
However, economists expect the expansion to moderate over this and coming quarters amid signs the economy was already
slowing in March. Industrial production fell sharply during the month, while retail sales were also down.makeAd(‘4′,’300×250′,’mktsnews’,’article’,”,”);
Falling imports can reflect a decline in consumer demand, consistent with the decline in retail sales. Eurozone
household spending has been boosted by lower energy prices, which leave them with more to spend on other goods and
services. That boost may be fading as oil prices recover from sharp declines early in the year.
To be sure, consumer spending is expected to continue to rise this year, partly reflecting a slow but steady decline
in unemployment. But with demand for the eurozone’s exports from large developing economies weakening, that is unlikely
to be enough to support a much stronger recovery than the one experienced in 2015.
Write to Paul Hannon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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