The European Union's statistical office released data Friday, showing that the Euro zone seasonally adjusted exports in August fell by 5.8% and imports by 1.3% compared with July 2009.

The first estimate for the euro area trade balance with the rest of the world in August 2009 gave a 4.0 billion euro deficit, compared with -11.3 billion in August 2008.

The July 2009 balance was +12.3 billion, compared with -4.6 billion in July 2008, according to the Eurostat.

 The latest decline raised fresh doubts about the strength of the 16-country region's economic recovery.

The European Commission has warned that the unwinding of global economic imbalances could significantly affect the euro zone.

Some economists had worried that a strengthening euro would act as a significant brake on growth.

Euro zone economies were badly hit by the global loss of confidence that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers late last year.