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Italy reported on Monday a trade deficit of 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) for January, sharply smaller than a 4.6 billion euro deficit 12 months before.
The January figures combine a 2.3 billion deficit in trade with countries outside the EU and a 700 million euros surplus with EU partners, the national statistics office ISTAT said.
Exports went up by 1.4 percentage points in January from December -- mainly due to non-EU markets -- while imports grew by 0.4 percent.
On a 12-month comparison, exports were up 8.7 percent and imports dropped by 1.8 percent.