The eurozone’s trade surplus hit a massive €194.8 billion in 2014, according to figures just out. That’s way up from 2014’s €152.3 billion, an increase of more than 27%.
The eurozone’s trade surplus in general has been getting bigger. Deutsche Bank have been referring to this process as the “Euroglut”.
In short, Europe is attracting a lot of foreign investment capital and a it’s exporting a lot of goods. Domestic demand has been pretty flat for years, and so imports and outward investment aren’t growing nearly as quickly, so a big imbalance is opening up.
Here’s how that looked as of the end of last year:
In December alone, the surplus ran to €24.3 billion, the largest single month ever.
The surplus doesn’t reflect the whole of Europe though, it’s primarily driven by massive German surplus.
Surpluses sound like a good thing, but in these circumstances they can be pretty damaging for the eurozone. It keeps the euro stronger than it would otherwise be (because foreigners are buying up euros to purchase German goods, driving up demand for euros and their price). The Centre for European Reform has a great explanation of that effect here.