The euro zone's current account surplus grew to €25.3 billion in January, European Central Bank data showed today, incorporating new euro zone member Latvia for the first time.

The monthly figure compared to a surplus of €20 billion for December, according to revised data.

The current account on the balance of payments includes payments for imports and exports in both goods and services plus all other current transfers.

It is a closely tracked indicator of the ability of a country or area to pay its way in the world.

The data is crucial for the long-term confidence of investors and trading partners, and an important factor in the value of a currency, in this case the euro, on the foreign exchange market.

Over the 12 months to January, the current account showed a surplus of €227.9 billion, compared with a surplus of €135.4 billion a year earlier, the data showed.