Exports of goods to the rest of the world rose by 3 percent to EUR 177.5 billion in February from EUR 172.3 billion a year earlier, while imports advanced at a slower 1.5 percent to EUR 158.6 billion from EUR 156.2 billion. Intra-euro area trade rose 3.9 percent year-on-year to EUR 153.7 billion in February.
Considering the first two months of the year, the trade surplus widened to EUR 22.4 billion from EUR 14.5 billion in the same period of 2017, as exports grew 5.9 percent to EUR 356.2 billion and imports increased 3.8 percent to EUR 333.8 billion.
Meanwhile, the European Union trade surplus widened to EUR 3.3 billion in February from EUR 0.2 billion a year ago. Exports went up 1.7 percent to EUR 149.2 billion from EUR 146.7 billion in February 2017, while imports fell 0.4 percent to EUR 145.9 billion from EUR 146.5 billion.
In January-February, the trade deficit decreased to EUR 17.1 billion from EUR 17.5 billion in the same period of 2017. Imports rose 3.6 percent to EUR 316.8 billion, boosted by purchases of energy (5.3 percent); raw materials (3.9 percent); machinery and vehicles (3.8 percent); and other manufactured goods (4.7 percent). Meanwhile, imports fell for both chemicals (-1.8 percent); and food and drink (-2.7 percent). Imports rose mainly from China (6 percent) and Turkey (7.1 percent), but declined from the US (-3.3 percent), Switzerland (-4.9 percent) and Russia (-0.4 percent). Exports went up 4 percent to EUR 299.7 billion, boosted by higher sales of energy (1.8 percent); raw materials (3.7 percent); other manufactured goods (6.4 percent); machinery and vehicles (4.1 percent); chemicals (10.3 percent); and food and drink (0.5 percent). Exports grew to the US (2.2 percent); China (3.8 percent); Russia (4.9 percent); Turkey (18.9 percent); but dropped to Switzerland (-8.5 percent).