The 17 countries that share the euro posted a combined external trade deficit that was the largest on record during the first month of the year as exports fell sharply, according to The Wall Street Journal. On Friday, the European Union reported that the eurozone trade deficit with the rest of the world reached a non-seasonally adjusted level of 14.8 billion in January from 0.5 billion the month before, which is the highest figure since records began in January 1999. Exports shed 10 billion from the previous month to reach 124.5 billion, while imports added over 4 billion to reach 139.4 billion.
The overall deficit jumped despite a 27% year-over-year increase in exports and a 29% increase in imports during that time. However, on a seasonally adjusted basis, exports for the region were at a record high level while imports reached the highest level since July 2008. A separate report from the European Central Bank showed that the eurozones current account deficit fell in January to 700 million from a revised 12.5 billion at the end of 2010. The shortfall was the smallest in a year, but the report included data that showed demand for eurozone debt slipping as sovereign debt concerns continue to weigh on the region.