France suffered a record trade deficit of 69.59 billion euros ($91.4 billion) last year, up 33 percent from the 2010 deficit of 51.52 billion euros, the customs service reported on Tuesday. France\'s exports actually increased over the year, but the high prices of imported raw materials and fuel took their toll. In 2011, French exports grew by 8.6 percent to 428.8 billion euros, the rate of increase slowing after 14 percent growth in 2010. Imports were up 11.7 percent to 498.39 billion euros from 446.28 billion in 2010. \"After a swift recovery in 2010, exports slowed in 2011, but they remain dynamic, and are now higher than before the financial crisis,\" the customs office said in its statement. Trade Minister Pierre Lellouche defended France\'s record, telling the daily Le Figaro that, while the deficit was higher than the previous record of 56.2 billion euros in 2008, it was \"lower than had been anticipated.\" \"We can be satisfied at the good results in certain sectors, the food sector saw a historic surplus of 11.4 billion. Aeronautics also saw a surplus, of 17.7 billion, thanks to the sale of 534 Airbus jets,\" he said. But French exports rose less quickly last year than those of Germany, Britain, Spain, Italy or the United States, and France\'s share in global trade has fallen sharply since 1990 from 6.2 percent to 3.6 percent. December offered a glimmer of hope. The trade account showed a slight improvement, with the gap falling to 4.99 billion euros, compared with 5.35 billion euros in the same month a year earlier.