RTTNews - Monday, Eurozone trade balance unexpectedly swung to surplus in March, despite exports and imports being in the negative territory. House prices in the UK rose for the fourth month in a row in May, a closely watched survey revealed.

Elsewhere, the International Monetary Fund's first deputy managing director, John Lipsky said the global economy will start recovering next year, but the pace would be more gradual than it was in past recessions.


Data released by the Eurostat showed that euro area's unadjusted trade balance rose to a surplus of EUR 0.4 billion in March from a revised EUR 1 billion deficit in February and from EUR 2.3 billion shortfall in March 2008. Economists had expected a deficit of EUR 0.3 billion.

Unadjusted exports were down 17% year-on-year to EUR 108 billion, while imports dropped 18% to EUR 107.6 billion, the Eurostat said.

Upon seasonal adjustments, the trade deficit narrowed to EUR 2.1 billion from revised EUR 2.9 billion deficit in February.

Spain's National Statistics Institute said the service sector turnover dropped 14.8% year-over-year in March, after falling 20.5% in February.

The Statistics Finland announced that the producer prices for manufactured products or PPI dropped 7% year-over-year in April, after falling 6.1% in March. On a monthly basis, producer prices declined 0.2% in April, following a 1.3% drop in the previous month.

Slovenia's statistical office said the jobless rate rose to 8.4% in March from 8.2% in February.

Rest of Europe

The UK government launched its car scrappage scheme that allows drivers to scrap their cars that are more than 10 years old, in return for a GBP 2,000 discount on a new car. The GBP 300 million scrappage scheme, announced in last month's Budget, is intended to boost consumer confidence and kick-start demand for new cars.

Driven by ambition, optimism and necessity, new house sellers in the UK pushed up asking prices by 2.4% month-on-month in May to GBP 227,441 from GBP 222,077 in April, property website Rightmove said. This represents the largest percentage rise for the month of May since 2003, when property was seeing annual increases in excess of 15%. On a yearly basis, house prices were down 6.2% in May, slower than the 7.3% decrease recorded in April.

A report from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office showed that construction output rose 3.5% year-on-year in March, reversing a 5.8% fall in February. Month-on-month, construction output grew a seasonal and working day adjusted 5.9% in March.

Turkey's consumer confidence index increased to 80.75 in April from 74.77 in March, the Turkish statistical Office said.

The Czech Statistical Office announced that the overnight stays at collective accommodation establishments declined 8.7% year-on-year to 7.3 million in the first quarter, compared with an 8.2% fall in the previous quarter.

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