Imports increased 5.1 percent from a year earlier to EUR 90.9 billion in February. Purchases from the EU went up 6.7 percent to EUR 53.2 billion, of which Euro area (7.5 percent to EUR 34.9 billion) and non-Euro area countries (5.1 percent to EUR 18.3 billion). In addition, imports from countries outside the EU rose 3 percent to EUR 37.7 billion.
Meanwhile, exports advanced at a slower 3.9 percent to EUR 108.8 billion. Sales to the EU grew 3.8 percent to EUR 65.7 billion, of which Euro area (3.2 percent to EUR 41.4 billion) and non-Euro area countries (4.8 percent to EUR 24.3 billion). Also, exports to countries outside the EU grew 4.1 percent to EUR 43.1 billion.
Considering the first two months of 2019, the trade surplus narrowed to EUR 32.5 billion from EUR 35.4 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus came in at EUR 18.7 billion in February, little-changed from a marginally revised EUR 18.6 billion in January and above market expectations of EUR 18.0 billion. Imports dropped 1.6 percent, worse than market consensus of a 0.7 percent fall; while exports went down 1.3 percent, compared to expectations of a 0.5 percent decline.