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Euro-Zone Exports Boost Growth Hopes


LONDON—A fourth consecutive increase in euro-zone exports took the region's trade balance into surplus in February, data showed Monday, bolstering hopes that economic contraction will be short lived.

The 17-nation currency bloc had a combined trade surplus of €2.8 billion ($3.66 billion) in February, compared with a €7.9 billion deficit in January and a €2.8 billion deficit in February 2011, the European Union's statistics agency said.

Exports for the region, in seasonally adjusted terms, grew 2.4% in February from January, a fourth straight monthly increase that economists say could be key to stopping a spiral into a deep recession so soon after one in 2008-09.

The euro zone is widely expected to have re-entered recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction, over the first three months of 2012.

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