RTTNews - Eurozone trade balance unexpectedly swung to surplus in March, despite exports and imports being in the negative territory, official report showed Monday.

The 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 108.0 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.

Seasonally adjusted exports rose 1.4% month-on-month after rising 1.6% in the previous month. On the other hand, imports recovered by 0.6% following 2% contraction in February.

Further, official data showed that exports from Germany rose 7.5% month-on-month to EUR 26 billion, despite the economy being in recession.

In the EU27, the unadjusted trade deficit contracted to EUR 9.5 billion from February's EUR 10.8 billion. Similarly, the seasonally adjusted trade deficit fell to EUR 11.7 billion from EUR 13.3 billion. Seasonally adjusted exports rose 2.5% month-on-month and imports climbed 0.7%.

The 16-nation economy contracted by a record 2.5% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to a 1.6% decline in the fourth quarter of 2008. The European Commission sharply lowered the GDP outlook for the euro area in its Spring Forecast. The 16-nation euro area is now expected to contract 4% in 2009 and 0.1% next year.

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