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Spain reduces trade deficit in 2012 by a third

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Spain reduced its trade deficit in 2012 by a third from the previous year as the recession-hit country cut back on imports and boosted its exports, government data showed Tuesday.

The country posted a trade shortfall of 30.76 billion euros last year, a decline of 33.6 percent over the 2011 figure, the economy ministry said in a statement.

"The increased competitiveness of Spanish exports, thanks mainly to a decline in unit labour costs, the rise in firms that export and an orientation to new markets explain why despite the recession in our country, the Spanish trade balance results for 2012 are favourable," the statement said.

Imports fell by 2.85 percent last year to 253.4 billion euros while exports rose by 3.8 percent to 222.6 billion euros, its highest level since records began in 1971, the ministry said.

"The reorientation of our sales towards new markets... compensated for weak demand in the European Union," the statement said.

Spain is grappling with a double-dip recession and 26 percent unemployment, having never recovered from a real estate crash in 2008.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130219/spain-reduces-trade-deficit-2012-third