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Romanian January trade deficit widens on increased EU imports

Romania's trade deficit widened in January from a year earlier as it joined the European Union, completing the opening of the nation's markets to increased imports from the region.

The deficit widened to €1.06 billion ($1.4 billion) from €638 million a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said in an e-mail today, citing preliminary data. Exports rose 11% and imports increased 25%. Imports from the 26 other EU nations jumped 34% and exports within the EU rose 11%, the institute said. The deficit with the EU jumped to €709 million from €311 million and the deficit with the rest of the world rose to €352 million from €327 million.

Romania joined the EU on January 1, dropping tariffs on wine, many foods and other goods and services. An inflow of investment before Romania joined the EU also strengthened the leu, making imports cheaper. The leu gained 6.3% against the euro in the year through January 31. Net monthly wages in Romania also rose an average 11% in January from a year earlier, giving citizens more money to buy imports. The trade data reported today includes the cost of freight and insurance for imports. The institute didn't report figures that subtract those costs. (Bloomberg)