The euro zone's trade surplus dropped sharply year-on-year in September as costs of importing energy soared, data from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat showed today.

Eurostat said the unadjusted trade surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro was €7.3 billion in September, down from €24.1 billion recorded in September 2020.

Adjusted for seasonal swings, the surplus was €6.1 billion.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an unadjusted surplus of €6.5 billion.

The year-on-year drop was mainly a result of a widening of the energy trade deficit to €176.1 billion in the nine months from January to September from €119.9 billion the same time last year.

The trade deficit with Russia, the euro zone's main supplier of gas and oil, jumped to almost €43 billion in the first nine months of the year from almost 13 billion in the same period in 2020.

The euro zone's trade balance with Norway, another large energy supplier, swung to a €4.4 billion deficit in the first nine months of 2021 from a €4.1 billion surplus a year earlier.

The euro zone's trade surplus with Britain after the country left the European Union's single market at the end of 2020 continued to rise, reaching €105.3 billion in the nine months of 2021, up from €77 billion a year earlier, with exports rising 4.5% and imports falling 16% in that period.