In 2013, exports fell 1.3 percent on weaker sales of metal products, chemicals, industrial machines and cars. Shipments to the European Union, which took in 60 percent of France's exports, fell by 0.7 percent. Sales to Asia, which accounted for 13 percent of total exports, dropped by 3.5 percent, reversing strong growth seen in recent years. Shipments to the United States grew by 1.5 percent.
In 2013, imports dropped by 2.3 percent due to a sharp drop in energy deliveries and lower oil prices.
Monthly trade figures from the customs office showed the deficit narrowed in December to 5.2 billion euros from 5.7 billion euros in November as exports grew 3.5 percent over the month, outpacing a 1.9 percent increase in imports.