WASHINGTON (CN) – The eurozone reclaimed its status as an overall exporter in 2009 after posting a 4.4 billion euro surplus in December, the highest monthly income in more than five years. Its profits drew heavily from trade with the United Kingdom and the United States, but the zone continued heavy losses in its trade with China, according to a statistics report released Wednesday.
The 22.3 billion euro surplus of 2009 is dwarfed by the more than 209 billion euro estimated surplus posted by China, but contrasts with the 280 billion euro deficit posted by the United States.
The zone’s surplus is a turnaround from 2008, when it saw a 55.7 billion euro deficit, and more closely mirrors the surplus of 2007.
The group’s sharp increase came as the world’s two biggest economies inched closer to equilibrium last year, when the United States saw its trade deficit shrink by 45 percent, and China saw its surplus fall by 35 percent, according to Bloomberg reports.
The eurozone’s surplus comes after the 16 countries saw a sharper drop in imports than in exports last year. Exports declined 18 percent in 2009, and imports fell 22 percent.
During the first 11 months of 2009, the eurozone drew more than 46 billion euros in surplus from the United Kingdom – the largest share. The United States came in second, losing more than 32 billion euros to trade with the eurozone.
But the zone still suffered a 83 billion euro deficit in its trade with China, and a 28 billion euro deficit in its trade with Russia.
During the same 11-month period, Germany earned by far the largest, with a more than 122 billion euro surplus overall. The Netherlands came in second with more than a 35 billion euro surplus.
France suffered the largest deficit, at 86 billion euros.
But while the 16 countries using the euro saw a 22.3 billion euro trade surplus last year, the 11 European nations not using the euro had an almost 128 billion euro deficit.
The United Kingdom suffered the largest trade deficit in Europe, losing almost 86 billion euros during the first 11 months of last year.
Sweden earned the highest surplus of the non-eurozone countries, at 8.2 billion euros.
The 11 European Union nations not using the euro are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The 16 nations using the euro are Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.