Imports increased 5.0 percent from a year earlier to EUR 94.4 billion in January. Purchases from the EU went up 3.7 percent to EUR 51.7 billion, of which Euro area (4.7 percent to EUR 33.8 billion) and non-Euro area countries (2 percent to EUR17.9 billion). In addition, imports from countries outside the EU expanded 6.5 percent to EUR 42.7 billion.
Meanwhile, exports advanced 1.7 percent to EUR 108.9 billion. Sales to the EU grew 0.6 percent to EUR 65.3 billion, of which Euro area (1 percent to EUR 41.4 billion) and countries outside the EU (3.3 percent to EUR 43.5 billion). Meanwhile, exports from non-Euro area countries was unchanged at EUR 23.9 billion.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus narrowed to EUR 18.5 billion in January from an upwardly revised EUR 19.9 billion in December and mising market expectations of EUR 21.0 billion. Imports increased 1.5 percent, much faster than market consensus of a 0.2 percent rise, while exports were unchanged, compared to expectations of a 0.5 percent fall.