The euro zone had a higher-than-expected trade surplus in October despite a continued rise in the euro as exports grew faster than imports, the European Union's statistics office said on Tuesday.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus of the 13 countries using the euro totaled 6.1 billion euros ($8.75 billion), up from 2.4 billion a year before and 3.7 billion in September, Eurostat said.
Economists polled by Reuters had on average expected a surplus of 4.1 billion euros for October.
Exports grew by 11 percent year-on-year in October, while imports rose 8 percent.
The seasonally adjusted trade surplus was 4 billion euros, up from 3.6 billion in September with exports up 2.3 percent against the previous month and imports rising 2.0 percent.
More detailed data for October was not yet available, but January-September figures showed substantial increases in the trade surplus with Britain and a fall in the trade gap with Russia compared with the same period of 2006.
The trade deficit with China, however, jumped to 80 billion euros in the first nine months of this year compared with a 64.1 billion euro gap in the same period of last year.
The euro zone's trade deficit in energy shrank to 162.3 billion euros in the January-September period from 187.8 billion a year earlier. The deficit in trade in crude materials rose to 28.2 billion from 23.9 billion.
The euro zone recorded growing surpluses in trade in chemicals and machinery and vehicles.