Rome, February 16 - Italy's trade surplus hit a record high of 51.6 billion euros in 2016, ISTAT said Thursday. This surplus is the highest since the start of the statistical series in 1991, the national statistics agency said. It is up from a surplus of 41.8 billion in 2015. Last year's surplus was 78 billion euros if energy trade is excluded. Italian exports increased by 1.1% in value terms and by 1.2% in volume terms in 2016 with respect to the previous year, ISTAT said. The rise was driven by exports to other EU countries, which were up 3%. Imports were down 1.4% in value terms and 3.1% in volume terms last year, the national statistics agency said.