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Weaker euro widens German trade surplus

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(BERLIN) - Germany's trade surplus grew slightly in October, data published Tuesday showed, with imports showing a sharper decline than exports due in part to a weaker euro.

Exports slipped by 0.5 percent in October to 97.2 billion euros ($120.1 billion) compared to the previous month, while imports fell 3.1 percent to 76.6 billion euros, according to seasonally adjusted figures published by the federal statistics office Destatis.

This lifted the trade surplus, the balance between imports and exports, to 20.6 billion euros in Germany, the world's number three exporter.

In raw terms, exports hit a historic record of 103.9 billion euros -- the third new high since July.

The figures came as France reported a slight drop in its trade deficit in October with a 0.5-percent rise in exports.

Carsten Brzeski of ING-DiBa called the German data "more evidence for Germany's rebound".

"October trade data just added to recent evidence that the eurozone's largest economy gained some momentum at the start of the fourth quarter," he said.

Christian Schulz of Berenberg Bank said German exports had shaken off the turmoil in Ukraine and "emerging market travails".

"We expect German exports to continue to grow nicely throughout the rest of the year and in 2015 as German companies enjoy a strong competitive position, important developed export markets are growing nicely or rebounding and the weaker euro helps a bit on global markets," he said in a statement.

Schulz said the outlook for domestic demand was also expected to pick up.

"While still-fragile domestic (spending) might have been holding back import growth, the drop in the oil price which began in October, is likely to have had the much bigger impact," he said.

"Consumers and companies will increasingly benefit from sharply lower prices for oil imports since the end of September this year."

Germany has faced frequent calls from its eurozone partners and the United States to slash its trade surplus and spur consumer spending.

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