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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Oil imports fuel eurozone deficit
Euro sign
Eurozone firms are importing more gas and consumer goods
Rising oil and gas imports gave the eurozone a bigger-than-expected trade deficit in April.

Official figures show that the 12-nation bloc had a 2bn euro ($2.5bn; 1.4bn) deficit after recording a 0.6bn euro surplus in March.

Large energy exporters Norway and Russia saw their sales to the eurozone grow by 47% and 43% respectively in the first quarter of the year.

Imports of consumer goods, particularly from China, also rose.

Overall imports from China outstripped sales to the Asian giant.

The eurozone - made up of nations using the single European currency - had a 1.6bn euro trade surplus in April 2005 but this has since declined.

The European Union's overall deficit rose to 14.8bn euros in April from 12.4bn euros the month before and 9.3bn in April 2005.




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