Euro zone current account surplus shrinks to two-year low

FILE PHOTO: Euro coins are seen in front of displayed flag and map of European Union in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, May 28 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The adjusted current account surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro narrowed to 16 billion euros in December from 23 billion euros in November, its lowest figure in two years, data from the European Central Bank showed on Tuesday.

With global trade tensions intensifying and Chinese economic growth slowing, European exports have taken a hit in recent months and the bloc’s trade surplus is declining unexpectedly quickly.

In the 12 months to December, the surplus was 3.0 percent of the bloc’s gross domestic product, down from 3.2 percent in the preceding 12-month period, with the trade surplus narrowing even more.

The ECB earlier said it expected the current account surplus to drop to 2.7 percent of GDP this year and shrink further to 2.5 percent by 2021.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by John Stonestreet