Considering the first two months of the year, the trade surplus narrowed to €17.3 billion from €23 billion a year ago, as exports were up by 8 percent to €333.7 billion while imports rose 11 percent to €316.4 billion.
Meanwhile, the European Union recorded a €1.7 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world, compared with a €2.6 billion gap in February 2016.
In January to February 2017, the trade gap rose to €14.8 billion, compared with €9.6 billion in the same period a year earlier, as exports went up by 11 percent to €287.6 billion and imports jumped 13 percent to €302.4 billion.
Exports of primary goods surged 27 percent to €42.9 billion, led by an increase in sales of energy (67 percent), raw materials and (26 percent) and food and drink (5 percent). Also, manufactured goods rose 9 percent to €233.4 billion, driven by chemicals (13 percent), machinery and vehicles (9 percent) and other manufactured goods (5 percent). Among trading partners, the biggest increases in exports were reported for Russia (30 percent), the US (10 percent), China (19 percent) and South Korea (15 percent).
Imports of primary goods rose 39 percent to €91.2 billion, led by energy (64 percent), raw materials (16 percent) and food and drink (3 percent). Imports of manufactured goods increased 4 percent to €202.4 billion, driven by machinery and vehicles (7 percent) and other manufactured goods (2 percent). Among trading partners, the biggest increases in imports were reported for Russia (55 percent), Norway (44 percent); South Korea (31 percent) and Canada (16 percent).