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Airbus sales drive drop

PARIS, July 7 – Sales of Airbus airliners helped the French trade balance to show a sharply reduced deficit in May on an adjusted basis, data from the customs service showed on Tuesday.

The deficit fell to 2.718 billion euros (3.8 billion dollars) from 3.841 billion euros in April.

But the cumulative balance for the 12 months to May showed a deficit of 54.244 billion euros, the finance ministry said.

In May, exports amounted to 28.039 billion euros, boosted by sales in the aero sector that, with deliveries of Airbus airliners, achieved "the record level of December 2008."

But in the last three months, exports showed a fall of 5.7 percent from the level in the preceding three months, the ministry said.

Imports in May were little changed from the April level at 30.757 billion euros, and in the last three months thay had fallen by 4.9 percent.

Under the effects of global economic crisis, French exports and imports have fallen by more than 20 percent in the last three months from the equivalent figures 12 months earlier.

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