BRUSSELS, March 18 (UPI) -- The trade balance in the 17-nation eurozone dropped from $11.7 billion in January 2012 to $5 billion in January this year, Eurostat said Monday.
The figure, which is a first estimate, follows a $13.9 billion surplus in December as exports rose 2 percent from December to January and imports rose 3.1 percent, the data agency said.
For the larger 27-member European Union, the agency said the trade deficit dropped to $21.3 billion in January from $32.2 billion in January 2012.
In 2012, exports from the EU grew with most of its trading partners although they dropped 5 percent with India and 4 percent with Switzerland.
Exports to South Korea rose 16 percent, and grew 14 percent with Russia and 13 percent with Japan, Eurostat said.
The annual deficit with China shrank to $188.5 billion in 2012 from $203.4 billion in 2011. With Japan, the deficit dropped from $26.1 billion in 2011 to $10.7 billion in 2012.
The EU trade surplus with the United States rose to $111 billion from $93.3 billion, With Turkey, the trade surplus rose from $32.1 billion in 2011 to $35.2 billion in 2012, the agency said.