Eurozone trade surplus rises by almost €40bn
The euro zone had a bigger than expected unadjusted trade surplus in December, as exports surged 8pc year-on-year and imports edged just 1pc higher, data showed.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the trade surplus of the 18 countries sharing the euro last year was €24.3bn, almost double the €13.6bn in December 2013 and well above market expectations of €20.5bn.
For the whole of 2014, exports rose 2pc over 2013 while imports were flat, bringing the overall trade surplus for the whole year to €194.8bn from €152.3bn in 2013.
More detailed data for December was not yet available, but numbers for the January-November period showed that much of the improvement in trade balance was due to a sharp fall in the deficit in the energy trade, thanks to plummeting oil prices.
Eurostat said that in the first 11 months of last year, the energy trade deficit fell to €256.7bn from €292.5bn in the same period of 2013.