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Euro zone trade deficit almost doubles in April

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro zone's trade deficit almost doubled in April from the previous month after an already record expansion in March, and industrial production increased over the same period on the month, official data showed on Wednesday.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the 19 countries sharing the euro recorded a trade deficit, unadjusted for seasonal swings, of 32.4 billion euros in April compared with a 16.4 billion euro deficit in March. In April 2021 there was a surplus of 14.9 billion euros.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the euro zone trade gap was 31.7 billion euros.

The unadjusted value of imports in April rocketed by 39.8% year-on-year, Eurostat said, while the value of exports rose only 15.7%.

The EU's trade deficit with Russia - its main energy supplier - more than quadrupled to 62.6 billion euros in the first quarter from 14.7 billion in the same period of 2021.

The change in the value of EU energy imports was the most spectacular, with the deficit in energy trade almost tripling to 183.6 billion euros in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2021.

The trade gap with China, Europe's biggest trading partner, almost doubled to 122 billion euros in the January-April period from 65.8 billion a year earlier.

The trade deficit with Norway, another large energy supplier, surged to 23.9 billion euros in the first quarter from 500 million euros in the same period of last year.

Industrial production in the 19 euro zone countries increased 0.4% month-on-month, but saw a 2% year-on-year decline.

Economist polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5% monthly rise, and a 1.1% annual drop.

Production of energy rose the most month-on-month by 5.4%, followed by intermediate goods by 0.7%, non-durable consumer goods by 0.4% and durable consumer goods by 0.2% against March, while production of capital goods fell by 0.2%.

In year-on-year terms, capital goods plunged 9% in April and intermediate goods were down 0.3%, while production of energy rose by 1.5%, non-durable consumer goods by 4.7% and durable consumer goods by 5.7%.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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