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The Eurozone's external surplus fell further at the end of Q1, and has now fully reversed the jump at the start of the year.
Data on Friday showed that the EZ current account surplus fell to €25.3B in September, from a revised €29.2B in August. The trade and services surpluses were unchanged, but the income balance slipped after rising in the previous months.
The Eurozone's external surplus rebounded further over the summer.
Manufacturing confidence in France remained resilient in the fourth quarter. The INSEE sentiment index rose to 103 in December from 102 in November, lifted by a jump in firms' own production expectations, and a small increase in the new orders-to-inventory ratio. We think production will increase in Q4, lifted by energy output, but the recent jump in the year-over-year rate is unlikely to be sustained, even if we factor in the marginal increase in new orders this month.
Hopes that the economy will not slow over the next year are largely pinned on the idea that net trade will be boosted by the drop in sterling. The pound has tracked sideways over the last two months and is about 15% below its trade-weighted peak in November 2015.
Friday's final EZ CPI data for July confirm the advance report.
The Eurozone's current account surplus slipped at the start of Q2, falling to €28.4B in April from an upwardly-revised €32.8B in March.
The EZ's current account surplus is solid as ever, despite falling slightly in February to €35.1B, from an upwardly-revised €39.0B in January.
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