• Germany's news in English
 

German trade surplus hits five-year high

Published: 08 Feb 2013 10:27 GMT+01:00

Europe's biggest economy exported a record €1.097 trillion ($1.5 trillion) worth of goods in 2012, an increase of 3.4 percent from the level the previous year, the national statistics office Destatis said.

Imports, too, topped a new record, inching up 0.7 percent to €909.2 billion in the period from January to December.

That meant the trade surplus increased to €188.1 billion in 2012, the highest level since 2007 and the second-highest level since foreign trade statistics began in 1950, Destatis said in a statement.

Nevertheless, trade momentum tailed off sharply towards the end of the year as the effects of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis increasingly left their mark on the region's powerhouse economy, the data showed.

In December alone, exports advanced by just 0.3 percent from November, failing to offset a 2.2-percent decline seen the previous month.

And imports – a measure of domestic demand – actually declined by 1.3 percent after already contracting by 3.8 percent in November. Germany has held up much better to the crisis than its eurozone partners, many of which are in recession.

But with the EU and the single currency area accounting for the lion's share of German exports, the country has not been able to escape the crisis unscathed.

And after growth slowed noticeably throughout the course of the year, the economy actually went into reverse in the fourth quarter, when it contracted by an estimated 0.5 percent. Analysts said the trade data reflect this.

"The overall outlook for trade activity remained extremely poor in the fourth quarter," said Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza.

"There are clear risks that trade activity might have been a drag for gross domestic product growth over the quarter," she said.

Destatis is scheduled to publish fourth-quarter GDP data next week.

Natixis economist Johannes Gareis said "the export numbers today confirm our scenario of a weak growth in Germany in the fourth quarter, due to the consistent weakness in world trade."

But he was confident that trade would stabilise in the first quarter of 2013 "as already indicated by leading indicators released this month."

Christian Schulz at Berenberg Bank predicted that "German domestic demand and thus imports should benefit this year from the lifting of the uncertainty related to the euro crisis.

"At the same time, exports could be under pressure from continuing demand weakness in peripheral Europe and the stronger euro exchange rate," he cautioned.

Exports provide a vital part of the German growth mix. Meanwhile eurozone countries struggling to overcome debt problems are working hard to boost their export performance to push up growth and tax income.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:07 February 8, 2013 by Tonne
Sounds like those austerity measures are really kicking in. Great work there Angie.
11:39 February 8, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
Was booming because of the cheap Euro bought by Germany at the expense of taxpayers in other Eurozone coutries. Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde squeezed too hard and too long and have managed to kill their goose that laid the golden egg. Well done Angie and your Bankster buddies. Now see how reality bites as it has done in Ireland, Portugal etc.
Today's headlines
Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation
Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation

Update: After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favourite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter. READ  

Germany to expand disability rights
Photo: DPA

Germany to expand disability rights

A representative of the German Labour Ministry went before a UN Committee on Friday to discuss the government's plan for improved rights for disabled people. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral
Photo: DPA

Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral

A Facebook post describing how a Germanwings pilot personally reassured his passengers of their safety on a flight on Wednesday has received over quarter of a million likes. READ  

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads
Photo: DPA

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads

The Bundestag (German parliament) passed a hugely controversial law on Friday which will charge foreigners for the use of German roads. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule
Photo: DPA

Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule

The Federation of the German Air Travel Industry (BDL) confirmed on Friday afternoon that from now on two people must be in the cockpit at all times, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Germanwings disaster. READ  

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study
Spanish immigrants in Germany. Photo: DPA

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study

A study by the Bertelsmann Institute found on Friday that Germany will need around half a million new immigrants every year until 2050 to maintain its work force. READ  

Bundesbank tough, public soft on Greece
Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank. Photo: DPA

Bundesbank tough, public soft on Greece

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said on Friday that he is opposed to giving Greece further financial help because he believes the new government has frittered away too much trust, but a new poll showed that support for a "Grexit" had shrunk below 50 percent. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,141
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd