EU trade surplus

This is seriously strong euro stuff:

European Union : Merchandise Trade
The seasonally adjusted trade balance was in a record E23.3 billion surplus in December, up from a stronger revised E21.6 billion print in November. Unadjusted the black ink stood at E24.3 billion, nearly double the comparable outturn a year ago. The results were on the high side of expectations.

However, the improvement in the headline masked weakness in both sides of the balance sheet. Hence, exports fell 1.1 percent on the month while imports were off a sharper 2.4 percent, their third straight decline. Versus December 2013 exports grew 8.0 percent but weak domestic demand again restricted imports to a modest 1.0 percent advance.

Still, the December report made for an average fourth quarter surplus of E21.7 billion, a significant expansion from the previous period’s E15.7 billion. Although lower oil costs will have been an important factor here the signs are that net export volumes made a positive contribution to Eurozone real GDP growth last quarter. For 2014 as a whole the black ink weighed in at E194.8 billion after a E152.3 billion excess in 2013. Euro weakness should ensure that exports provide a still larger boost over 2015.