Higher exports saw the euro area trade surplus end the year on a high note, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The surplus rose in December to a seasonally adjusted €23.8bn from €22bn in November – well ahead of expectations.
Exports for the month rose by 1.7% from November, while imports were 0.9% higher. However, year-on-year exports were 1% higher at €180.7bn and imports were 2.5% ahead at €155.3bn.
As the increase in imports exceeded exports growth, the trade surplus fell to €25.4bn in December from €27.6bn in December 2016.
Separate data showed that the EU’s 28 members registered a €14.3bn trade surplus in goods with the rest of the world in December compared with €20.7bn in December 2016.