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[FRANKFURT] Germany's trade surplus contracted slightly in January, dragged down by falling exports, official data showed on Thursday.
The trade surplus is a key gauge of an economy's comparative strength and in recent months has highlighted the robustness of Europe's biggest economy amid the current global economic uncertainties.
German exports declined by 0.5 per cent to 98.2 billion euros (S$149.2 billion) in seasonally-adjusted terms in January, the federal statistics office calculated.
At the same time, imports - a measure of domestic demand - increased by 1.2 per cent to 79.4 billion euros.
That meant that the trade surplus - the balance between exports and imports - shrank slightly to 18.8 billion euros in January from 20.3 billion euros in December, the statisticians said.
A similar trend was seen on a 12-month basis, with exports falling by 1.4 per cent in January compared with a year earlier, while imports grew by 1.5 per cent.
In raw or unadjusted terms, the trade surplus contracted to 13.6 billion euros in January, compared with a surplus of 19 billion euros in December and a surplus of 15.9 billion euros in January 2015.
Exports to the European Union expanded by 1.0 per cent on a 12-month basis, Destatis calculated.
But exports to the eurozone slipped fractionally by 0.1 per cent and exports to countries outside Europe were down by 5.0 per cent year-on-year, Destatis said.