Germany’s trade balance surplus rose to a better-than-expected 15.6 billion euros (seasonally adjusted), or $21.16 billion, in August, while France's trade deficit narrowed at a modest rate to 4.9 billion euros in the same period, official data released by the respective countries showed on Tuesday.

The German foreign trade balance had posted a surplus of 15 billion euros in July 2013 and analysts had expected the surplus to edge up to 15.1 billion euros in August. Germany’s exports fell by 5.4 percent to 85.3 billion euros and imports declined by 2.2 percent in August to 72.2 billion euros, data released by the Deutsche Bundesbank showed.

According to the data, Germany’s exports to European Union, or EU, member states declined 3.9 percent to 47.1 billion euros and imports dropped by 0.9 percent to 44.7 billion euros, year-on-year in August. In August 2013, German exports of goods to countries outside the EU stood at 38.2 billion euros, while imports from those countries amounted to 27.5 billion euros. Compared with August 2012, exports outside EU decreased by 7.2 percent and imports fell by 4.3 percent, data showed.

Meanwhile, the French trade deficit declined from 5.1 billion euros in July to 4.9 billion euros in August, against analysts’ expectations that the country’s deficit would narrow modestly to 5 billion euros. The country’s exports decreased to 35.98 billion euros from 36.48 billion euros in July. At the same time, the value of August imports declined to 40.89 billion euros from 41.57 euros billion in July, official data showed on Tuesday.