• Germany edition
 
German trade surplus hits five-year high
Photo: DPA

German trade surplus hits five-year high

Published: 08 Feb 2013 10:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,533
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd