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French trade deficit deepens

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09:30 CEST+02:00

France reported an increased official trade deficit of €6.46 billion ($9.0 billion) in July on an adjusted basis owing to a rise of imports, customs data released on Thursday revealed.  

The trade deficit is a central policy concern in France.  

Exports towards other countries in the European Union fell but exports to elsewhere in Europe, the Americas and Africa did better.  

In July, French exports totalled €34.76 billion. Imports totalled €41.22 billion.  

The latest deficit means that the trade balance for the 12 months to the end of July shows a deficit of €67.21 billion from a deficit of €51.664 billion for the whole of last year.  

In recent years France has run a structural trade deficit which is a big drag on growth and highlights a gap between performance by the French economy and in Germany.  

France is increasingly focused on aligning its economy with that of Germany, amid the eurozone debt crisis.  

Official German data on Thursday showed a trade surplus of €10.4 billion for July, down from €12.7 billion in June.  

In France, imports of refined oil products, transportation equipment and computer equipment rose sharply in July but exports rose only slightly, the data showed.  

In June the French balance showed a deficit of €5.40 billion and in May €6.59 billion. The data for April showed a record deficit of €6.91 billion.  

Economists have long warned that France has run into a problem of competitiveness, and that it does not have enough strong medium-sized companies and that its small and medium firms tend to export mid-range products.  

This is in contrast to Germany where the framework of medium-sized companies is strong and these firms have focused strongly on exporting high-quality products to niche markets, analysts say.

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