• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
German of the Week
'Now I can grow cannabis at home'
Günter Weiglein. Photo: DPA

'Now I can grow cannabis at home'

Günter Weiglein is one of three men in Germany who is allowed to grow his own cannabis thanks to a court ruling last week. But he tells The Local he’s not celebrating just yet. READ  

Germany tops penis enlargement table
Do your wurst, doc. Photo: DPA

Germany tops penis enlargement table

Germany is the world’s leader in penis enlargements, with five times as many people in the country undergoing the procedure than anywhere else in the world. Globally, Germany carries out the fourth highest amount of cosmetic surgery operations. READ  

The Local List
The best words in Austrian German
Which one is the Austrian word for tomato? Photo: APA/dpa

The best words in Austrian German

If you’ve lived in Germany, or you learnt Hochdeutsch at school, you may be surprised by some of the language differences between Austria and parts of Germany. READ  

Turks in Germany vote for first time
Voters at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Turks in Germany vote for first time

Germany’s large Turkish community headed to polling stations on Thursday to vote for the first time in a Turkish election. The Local visits Berlin’s Olympic Stadium which has been turned into a giant voting booth. READ  

Ice Age lion gets its head back
The lion with the missing half of its head. Photo: Hilde Jensen, Universität Tübingen.

Ice Age lion gets its head back

A 40,000-year-old figurine of a lion has been reunited with its head, more than 80 years after it was first found in a cave in southern Germany, following an extraordinary discovery. READ  

German jobless rate rises in July
Photo: DPA

German jobless rate rises in July

Unemployment in Germany rose in July to 6.6 percent, the Federal Employment Agency said on Thursday, blaming the increase on "seasonal reasons". READ  

Your lottery numbers are 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13
The winning numbers in Wednesday night's lotto. Photo: DPA/Lotto

Your lottery numbers are 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13

Three lucky Germans will take home a six-figure prize after an extremely rare lottery draw. The lucky numbers on Wednesday night were 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 37. READ  

Germany denies 'land for gas' deal with Putin
Merkel with Poroshenko and Putin in June. Photo: DPA

Germany denies 'land for gas' deal with Putin

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been working on a secret peace plan for Ukraine, The Independent newspaper reported on Thursday. The report was later denied by the German government. READ  

Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut
A cargo compartment on the ATV. Photo: ESA

Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut

The last European space freighter blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, carrying a special treat for the station’s German astronaut. The launch of the German-built supply ship marks the end of an era. READ  

World Cup victory makes Germans thirsty
Beer sales abroad and during the World Cup were behind the rise. Photo: DPA

World Cup victory makes Germans thirsty

Germany’s World Cup victory was also good news for the country’s brewers who saw a welcome reversal in the long-term trend of draining beer sales. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Five reasons to visit Oktoberfest (and five not to)
Photo: DPA
Society
Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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

3,240
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd