By Nina Adam

FRANKFURT--Germany's global trade surplus in 2016 hit a fresh record-high, a trend which is likely to fan the flames of a debate between Washington and Berlin about Germany's dependence on exports.

Germany's trade surplus--or the balance of exports and imports of goods--increased to 252.9 billion euros ($270 billion), which marks the highest surplus since records began after WWII, the statistics body said Thursday. Total exports of goods rose 1.2% from 2015, while imports increased just 0.6%.

The development adds weight to recent criticism by President Donald Trump's administration of Germany's dependence on foreign demand.

Mr. Trump, in an interview with tabloid Bild and The Times of London, criticized last monththat there are too many German cars out on U.S. streets, but too few U.S. models in Germany. His top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, meanwhile told the Financial Times that Germany was exploiting the U.S. and European Union countries with a "grossly undervalued euro."

Germany's government has rebuffed the claims and earlier comments, saying that Berlin has no influence on exchange rates and interest rates. The trade surplus, officials in Berlin say, is partly a reflection of Germany's strong economic position and companies' competitiveness.

Germany's statistics body also released data that showed a sharp rise in the country's already high current-account surplus--a measure both of the country's export prowess and of German companies' reluctance to invest at home.

Germany's current-account balance stood at EUR266.0 billion in 2016, which is the highest surplus since records began in 1991. By comparison, Germany's current-account balanceshowed a deficit in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

--Andrea Thomas in Berlin contributed to this report.

Write to Nina Adam at nina.adam@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 09, 2017 02:40 ET (07:40 GMT)

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