PARIS Nov 8 France's trade deficit narrowed in
September helped by lower energy imports and a jump in Airbus
sales, but the data masked falls in nearly all industrial
exports, underscoring the challenge the country faces to improve
The Finance Ministry said the trade deficit shrank to 5.0
billion euros over the month, from 5.3 billion euros ($6.7
Imports fell to 42.6 billion euros from 43.44 billion,
outstripping a more modest decline in exports which fell from
38.2 billion euros to 37.6 billion.
The drop in imports was mainly caused by lower energy
purchases, attributable to the closure for maintenance of one of
the country's main refineries, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Airbus sales climbed to 2.1 billion euros from
1.7 billion in August, helping to offset declines in foreign
demand for French clothing, chemicals, electronic equipment and
Only pharmaceuticals managed to buck the downward trend,
with exports rising to 2.5 billion euros from 2.4 billion a
France is struggling to reverse a long slide in
competitiveness which has eaten away at exports and destroyed
some 750,000 factory jobs over the past 10 years.
On Monday, President Francois Hollande's government unveiled
a tougher-than-expected competitiveness package, comprising
financing guarantees for small companies and cuts in labour
charges, aimed at reviving the country's ailing economy.