Euro bills are pictured in the safe of an Austrian bank in Vienna
The euro area's current account surplus increased above estimates in February, showed data from the European Central Bank.
In February, the eurozone's seasonally-adjusted current account surplus was €16.3bn ($21.3bn/£13.9bn), compared to €13.8bn in January. Economists expected the surplus to rise to €14.5bn.
Current account, which is the difference between a nation's total exports and imports of goods, services and transfers, is an indicator of trends in foreign trade. The current account balance calculations, which are crucial for the long-term confidence of investors and trading partners of a country or area, exclude transactions in financial assets and liabilities.
The surplus on trade in goods increased to €12.2bn from €12bn, while the surplus in services fell to €8bn from €8.2bn. Income surplus declined to €5.9bn from €6.2bn a month ago.
Meanwhile, the deficit in current transfers narrowed to €9.8bn from €12.6bn.
On an unadjusted basis, the current account recorded a surplus of €12.1bn compared to a deficit of €5.6bn in January. Unadjusted capital account for February was a surplus of €1.6bn, compared to a surplus of €700m in January.
For the 12 months to February, the seasonally-adjusted current account was a surplus of €136.7bn, compared with a surplus of €25.9bn a year earlier, according to ECB data. During the period, surplus for goods increased to €115bn from €16.9bn and surplus for services rose to €92.2bn from €76.5bn.
At the end of 2012, the international investment position of the euro area recorded net liabilities of €1.1tn as against the rest of the world, representing approximately 12 percent of euro area GDP. The liabilities increased by €13bn, in comparison with the revised data for the end of the third quarter of 2012.
Gross external debt of the euro area amounted to €11.7tn at the end of 2012, representing about 124 percent of euro area GDP. That was a decrease of €194bn in comparison with the revised data for the end of the third quarter of 2012.
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