Seasonally adjusted goods imports increased by €800 million, or 16 percent, to €5,883 million from the previous month; and exports increased by €349 million, or 3 percent, to €10,619 million, preliminary figures showed.
The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 39.1 percent year-on-year to €4,265 million, as exports increased by €1,303 million, or 15 percent, to €9,738 million, due to higher sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (37 percent), and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (28 percent).
Exports to the UK increased by €189 million, or 19 percent, to €1,162 million. The main products accounting for this increase were exports of chemicals and related products which increased by €158 million, or 58 percent, to €433 million. The EU accounted for €4,853 million, or 50 percent, of total goods exports, of which €1,115 million went to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,945 million, or 30 percent, of total exports.
Meanwhile, imports rose by €105 million, or 2 percent, to €5,473 million compared with February 2016, mainly due to higher purchases of petroleum (25 percent). By contrast, imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines dropped 31 percent.
The EU accounted for 63 percent of the value of goods imports in February 2017, with €1,219 million, or 22 percent, of total imports coming from the UK. Imports from the UK decreased by €54 million, or 4 percent, compared with February 2016., mainly due to small decreases in the imports of food and live animals and machinery and transport equipment. The US with €767 million, or 14 percent, and China with €283 million, or 5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.
In the first two months of the year, the trade surplus increased to €8.5 billion from €6.8 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 12 percent to €19.2 billion while imports rose 3 percent to €10.7 billion.