EU exports of goods fell to €125.4 billion in April, down by 28.2 percent compared to the same month last year, according to first official estimates released Monday by Eurostat.
Imports also fell, though less starkly by 22.7 percent to €125.1 billion — meaning the EU’s trade in goods surplus with the rest of the world has all but vanished. The surplus in April reached a low of €0.2 billion compared with €12.9 billion in April 2019.
Even more remarkably, trade within the EU fell by 32 percent, reflecting the double-whammy of both a fall in demand and a fall in production due to factory and border closures inside the EU.
Trade within the eurozone fell to €112.4 billion in April 2020, down by 32.2 percent on 2019.
A spokesperson for Germany’s economy ministry Monday said Berlin was confident that the figures reflected the “low point” in the EU’s economic activity due to “the tough shutdown measures in April.”
“From May onwards, economic recovery sets in with the gradual easing of corona-related restrictions,” the spokesperson said.
“The further recovery process in the second half of the year and beyond will be sluggish and protracted. External economic stimuli will remain low for some time to come, and changes in the behavior of citizens and the economy will persist given the risk of the epidemic flaring up again,” the spokesperson added.