Exports of goods to the rest of the world advanced 6 percent to €178.6 billion in December 2016 from €168.7 billion a year earlier; while imports increased at a slower 4 percent to €150.5 billion compared to €144.4 billion in December 2015.
Considering 2016 full year, the trade surplus widened to €273.9 billion from €238.7 billion in 2015, as exports were nearly unchanged at €2,047.8 billion while imports fell 2 percent to €1,774 billion.
Meanwhile, the European Union recorded a €20.9 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world, compared with a €20.6 billion surplus in December 2015. Exports went up 5 percent to €164.4 billion from €156.1 billion a year earlier; and imports rose 6 percent to €143.5 billion compared to €135.4 billion.
Considering 2016 full year, the European Union recorded a surplus of €39.3 billion, compared with €59.9 billion in 2015. Exports of goods dropped 2 percent to €1,745.7 billion from €1,789.2 trillion a year earlier, led by a fall in sales of energy (-13 percent) and other manufactured goods (-2 percent) while exports of food and drinks rose (2 percent). Imports shrank 1 percent to €1,706.4 billion from €1,729.2 billion, as purchases declined the most for energy (-20 percent) and raw materials (-5 percent). Among trading partners, the biggest decreases in shipments were reported for South Korea (-7 percent) and Switzerland (-5 percent); while the decline in imports mainly reflected the strong fall in purchases from Norway (-15 percent) and Russia (-13 percent).