BRUSSELS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The trade surplus in the 17-nation eurozone rose in July compared with June, Eurostat said Monday.
After posting a surplus of $18.3 billion in June, the currency region posted a $20.4 billion surplus in July, the data agency said.
Although Monday's estimate is considered preliminary, the gain from July 2011 is more dramatic. In July 2011, the region's surplus came to $2.7 billion.
The 27-member European Union posted a $4 billion surplus for July, compared to a $14.3 billion deficit in July of 2011.
For the EU, July's exports fell 1.7 percent from June, while imports fell 1.3 percent month to month.
Despite the economic downturn in Europe, exports to major partners rose January through June 2012 compared with the same period of 2011, Eurostat said.
Exports to Russia and South Korea rose 18 percent, while exports to Japan rose 16 percent.
Exports to Brazil rose 15 percent.
There were exceptions. Exports to India fell 6 percent, while exports to Turkey dropped 2 percent.
The EU's trade surplus with the United States rose to $53.3 billion in the first six months of the year compared with a surplus of $44.6 billion in the same period of 2011.
The region's trade deficits with China, Russia and Japan all fell, but the region's deficit with Norway rose January through June of 2012 compared with the same period of 2011.