Europe & Eurozone

Europe’s trade in goods – smaller EU deficit, growing EZ surplus

Eurostat today published its first estimate of the February 2015 trade in goods position for the EU as a whole, and for the 19-country Eurozone.  In February compared with January 2015, euro area seasonally adjusted exports increased by 2.8%, while imports increased by 2.6%. The seasonally adjusted balance was +€22.0 bn, an increase compared with January (+€21.2 bn).  Not seasonally adjusted, the balance was €20.3 bn.   The Eurozone's economy seems to be significantly based on maintaining large trade surpluses, which require equal ongoing trade deficits from elsewhere in the rest of the EU and world.

Signs of very marginal improvements in Greece - but unemployment still over 25%

The headline news from the latest Labour Force Survey results is that Greece’s unemployment has fallen just a little in January 2015 – it is now 25.7% compared to 27.2% in January 2014, and to 25.9% in December 2014.  The annual fall in unemployed is around 87,000, but note that the total number of unemployed is still a massive 3.53 million.

The employment situation has improved even less compared to a year ago – with a gain of just 37,000 finding employment.

EU Industrial Producer Prices up in February - ups and downs

According to Eurostat (1), Industrial Producer Prices in February 2015 rose 0.5% from January in the Eurozone, and by 0.6% in the EU as a whole.  This is the first monthly rise since September. But year on year, they fell by 2.8% in the Eurozone and 3.4% for the EU – the largest recent year on year falls bar January.

What is striking is that the monthly increase is due mainly to a small nudge-up of energy prices – whilst total industry prices excluding energy continued to fall both monthly (-0.1% in Eurozone and EU) and year on year, -0.7% for the Eurozone, -0.8% for the whole EU