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German trade surplus narrows as imports outgrow exports in July

BERLIN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - German imports grew far faster than exports in July, narrowing the trade surplus in Europe's biggest economy, data showed on Friday.

Seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.2 percent on the month while imports were up 2.2 percent, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed.

Both figures came in weaker than expected after a Reuters poll had pointed to exports rising 1.25 percent and imports jumping by 2.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed to 19.5 billion euros ($23.55 billion) from 21.2 billion euros in June. The July reading was lower than the Reuters consensus forecast of 20.3 billion euros.

Germany's wider current account surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments, fell to 19.4 billion euros after an upwardly revised reading of 25.0 billion euros in June, unadjusted data showed.

The figures came after the Ifo institute said on Thursday that Germany's current account surplus is likely to remain the world's largest this year despite shrinking somewhat mainly due to higher costs for oil and natural gas imports. ($1 = 0.8280 euros) (Reporting by Paul Carrel and Caroline Copley)