French trade deficit widens in August

PARIS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - France's trade deficit widened inAugust as an improvement in the country's export performance wasoffset by a sharp, energy-driven jump in imports, data from thecustoms office showed on Tuesday.

The gap between imports and exports climbed to 5.3 billioneuros ($6.9 billion) over the month of August from a revisedfigure of 4.1 billion in July.

July's deficit had previously been given as 4.3 billioneuros.

Exports rose to 38.17 billion euros from 36.829 billion,helped by strong sales of Airbus aircraft, which totalled 2.303billion euros compared with 1.646 billion euros in July.

But imports climbed to 43.456 billion euros from 40.891billion a month earlier, as energy purchases rebounded comparedwith July. Total purchases of petrol products rose to 2.995billion euros from 2.360 billion, while imports of power andhydrocarbons increased to 5.423 billion euros, from 4.968billion euros in July.

($1 = 0.7711 euros)

(Reporting By Vicky Buffery. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

((vicky.buffery@thomsonreuters.com)(+33 1 49 49 51 10)(ReutersMessaging: vicky.buffery.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))