BERLIN, May 9 (Reuters) - German industrial production fell by less than expected in March and trade proved resilient, data showed on Tuesday, supporting expectations for a robust performance of Europe's biggest economy in the first quarter.
Industrial output edged down by 0.4 percent on the month, data from the Economy Ministry showed. This was better than the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a drop of 0.6 percent.
The decline was driven by a 2.5 percent fall in energy output. Manufacturing production was down 0.5 percent while construction output rose 1.5 percent.
The February reading was revised down to a rise of 1.8 percent from a previously reported increase of 2.2 percent. In January, industrial production rose by 1.3 percent.
In the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose 1.4 percent on the quarter, the ministry said.
Separate data released from the Federal Statistics Office showed that seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.4 percent on the month. This came in better than the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a rise of 0.2 percent.
Imports jumped by 2.4 percent -- much stronger than a predicted increase of 1.0 percent.
The seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed to 19.6 billion euros ($21.41 billion) from a revised 21.2 billion euros in February, below the Reuters consensus forecast of 20.9 billion euros. ($1 = 0.9156 euros) (Reporting by Michael Nienaber)