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Aug. 14, 2020, 5:28 a.m. EDT

Eurozone exports surged in June

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By Paul Hannon

Exports of goods to the rest of the world from the eurozone surged in June, a fresh sign that the economy was starting to recover as lockdowns designed to contain the new coronavirus were eased.

The European Union's statistics agency Friday said that, adjusted for seasonal variations, exports from the currency area were 11.2% higher than in May, while imports were up just 5.2%.

As a result, the eurozone's surplus in its trade in goods widened to 17.1 billion euros ($20.20 billion) from EUR8.6 billion in May. Without seasonal adjustments, the surplus rose to EUR21.2 billion from EUR19.4 billion in the same month of 2019.

The rise in exports followed a smaller, but still substantial increase in May. However, those increases weren't sufficiently large to fully reverse sharp falls in March and April, when lockdowns spread across the currency area. Exports were still 17% lower than in February, the last month before the pandemic disrupted normal trade flows.

In a separate release, Eurostat confirmed that the eurozone's gross domestic product--a broad measure of the goods and services it produces-was 12.1% lower in the three months through June than it was in the first quarter.

The statistics agency also said that employment was 2.8% lower in the second quarter than in the first. That was by far the largest fall in a single quarter since records started in 1995. Previously, the largest drop was a 0.8% decline in the first three months of 2009.

Write to Paul Hannon at paul.hannon@wsj.com

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