• Eurozone reports $23-B trade surplus

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    BRUSSELS: Inflation in the 17-nation eurozone was flat in July at an annual rate of 1.6 percent, official data showed on Friday.

    The data also showed a big increase in a eurozone trade surplus on a monthly and 12-month basis. Compared with June, euro–zone consumer prices fell 0.5 percent, the Eurostat data agency said, confirming earlier figures.

    Eurozone inflation hit a 38-month low of 1.2 percent in April, but has picked up as the economy recovered from a record 18-month recession, which data earlier this week showed ended in the three months to June with quarterly growth of 0.3 percent.

    For the 27-member European Union, inflation ran at 1.7 percent in July, unchanged from the level in June, Eurostat said, while on a monthly basis, EU prices were down 0.4 percent.

    In July 2012, the eurozone inflation rate was 2.4 percent and the EU 2.5 percent. For the month, the Netherlands had the highest annual rate of inflation at 3.1 percent with Greece the lowest, at a negative 0.5 percent.

    The European Central Bank aims to keep inflation to just below a 2 percent in the medium term. Eurostat also said on Friday that the eurozone had a trade surplus with the rest of the world of 17.3 billion euros ($23 billion) in June, up from 14.5 billion euros in May and 12.8 billion euros in June 2012.

    Exports rose 3 percent and imports were up 2.5 percent in the month.

    For the EU, the June trade surplus fell to 9.9 billion euros from 15.7 billion euros in May and compared with a deficit of 1 billion euros in June 2012.

    AFP

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