German exports plunged unexpectedly in February, posting their biggest monthly drop in two and a half years and narrowing the trade surplus.

The figures are a further sign that growth in Europe's biggest economy could have reached its peak. 

Seasonally adjusted exports fell by 3.2% on the month, the steepest decline since August 2015, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. Imports dropped by 1.3%. 

A Reuters poll had pointed to exports edging up by 0.2% on the month and imports rising by 0.3%. 

Analysts said that the stronger euro was probably to blame for the weak export figures.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed to €19.2 billion from €21.5 billion in January, the lowest since January 2017. The Reuters consensus forecast was for €21.4 billion. 

Germany's wider current account surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments, edged up to €20.7 billion from €20.3 billion in January, unadjusted data showed. 

The prospect of Germany getting caught in the cross-fire of a trade war between the US and China is worrying German businesses. 

The DIHK Chambers of Commerce and Industry said last week an escalation of the dispute over import duties could harm the global economy and weaken demand for German goods and services. 

Official data last week showed German industrial output fell by the most in more than two years in February. The Economy Ministry said industry was losing momentum. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit US President Donald Trump on Friday.

Merkel's trip, three days after French President Emmanuel Macron's state visit to the Washington, comes just before the expiry of an exemption for the European Union from US import duties on steel and aluminium. 

The visits give the EU leaders an opportunity to lobby for the bloc to be exempted permanently from the tariffs which are suspended for the EU until May 1.