Year-on-year, exports rose at a faster 4.9 percent to € 19.32 billion, mainly due to higher auto sales, equipment goods, food, drinks and tobacco. Sales to the UK, the US and Portugal were the main contributors to the increase.
Shipments to the EU increased 7 percent yoy (5.2 percent in January), with exports to Germany and France growing the most (7.3 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively).
Imports increased 6.9 percent to € 20.95 billion, due to higher non-energy purchases (up by 9.1 percent).
On a monthly basis, exports surged 4.8 percent and imports fell 1.4 percent.
Considering the first two months of 2014 together, imports advanced 3 percent over the same period in 2013, while exports rose 4 percent, reaching the highest value ever at € 37.76 billion. As a result, the trade deficit shrank 5.2 percent to € 4.44 billion.