Imports increased 3.6 percent from a year earlier to EUR 95.7 billion in November. Purchases from the EU went up 3.1 percent to EUR 54.5 billion, of which Euro area (2.9 percent to EUR 34.8 billion) and non-Euro area countries (3.3 percent to EUR 19.7 billion). In addition, imports from countries outside the EU grew 4.3 percent to EUR 41.2 billion.
Meanwhile, exports were nearly unchanged at EUR 116.3 billion. Sales to the EU edged up 0.3 percent to EUR 68.1 billion, as higher exports to non-Euro area countries (1.3 percent to EUR 25.3 billion) were partially offset by a decline in sales to Euro area (-0.4 percent to EUR 42.8 billion). At the same time, sales to countries outside the EU dropped 0.4 percent to EUR 48.2 billion.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus widened to EUR 19.0 billion in November from an upwardly revised EUR 17.9 billion in October and above market expectations of EUR 18.0 billion. Imports slumped 1.6 percent, against market consensus of a 0.4 percent rise, while exports decreased at a slower 0.4 percent, compared to expectations of a 0.3 percent fall.
Considering January to November, the trade surplus narrowed to EUR 214.2 billion from EUR 229.5 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.