German imports and exports both rose unexpectedly strongly in December, providing a positive note about the strength of Europe's largest economy amid growing worries.
The Federal Statistical Office reported Friday that exports rose 1.5 percent from November, to 112.3 billion euros ($127.3 billion), while imports rose 1.2 percent to 92.9 billion euros, when adjusted for seasonal and calendar factors. That widened the trade surplus to 19.4 billion euros from November's 18.9 billion euros.
Economists had predicted a 0.4 percent rise in exports and a 0.5 percent rise in imports.
In unadjusted annual figures, German exports in 2018 rose 3 percent over 2017 to 1.32 trillion euros and imports rose 5.7 percent to 1.09 trillion euros.
ING economist Carsten Brzeski called the figures "a more than welcome sign of life."