The euro zone's trade surplus with the rest of the world grew by more than expected in June, as the currency bloc's imports fell faster than its exports, the European Union's statistics office has said.

With unadjusted exports falling 2% and imports falling 5% compared with the same period last year, the euro zone's trade surplus increased to €29.2 billion, above the €25.8 billion expected in a Reuters poll of six analysts.

For the European Union as a whole, the trade surplus fell slightly to €7.7 billion in June, when compared with June 2015.

In the first six months of the year, EU exports and imports of energy fell sharpest, followed by raw materials.

There was a slight increase in the import of chemicals as well as machinery and vehicles into the EU in the January to June period, Eurostat said. 

Yesterday, CSO figures revealed Ireland's trade surplus jumped by 22% (€826m) to €4.5 billion between May and June.

Exports for the month rose by €413m (+5%) to €9.5 billion, while imports fell €412m (-8%) to just over €5 billion.

The CSO data also showed the total value of exported goods for the first six months of the year reached €55.4 billion - a 1% increase on the same period in 2015.

The June surplus was boosted by exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, which were 12% higher than the same month last year at €2.8 billion, while electrical machinery exports more than doubled to €509m.