German exports have picked up considerably, with both shipments to the EU and overseas markets increasing. The latest figures are likely to fuel a controversial debate on the country's huge trade surplus.
German exports rose by 0.8 percent in February month on month, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported Friday, surprising analysts, who had penciled in a 0.5-percent decline for the month.
The pickup in February came on the back of an even stronger increase a month earlier when shipments abroad rose by 2.2 percent.
Exports in February totaled 102.3 billion euros ($108.9 billion), marking a 3.1-percent rise year on year.
Pouring oil into the fire
German shipments to fellow eurozone nations soared by 3.5 percent, showing the strongest increase. But exports to countries outside the larger 28-nation European Union also surged by 3.4 percent.
By contrast, imports in February shrank by 1.6 percent month on month, driving up the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to 21 billion euros.
The US and many other nations have frequently criticized Germany for its ballooning surplus, with Washington ordering a probe into current bilateral imbalances and threatening higher duties on German imports.
Germany's massive trade surplus is unlikely to ease in the course of the year. Industry groups expect an annual surplus of around 3 percent as the global economy recovers further, leading to stronger demand for goods and services from Europe's powerhouse.
hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)