• 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
Four arrested in raids against Isis
Photo: DPA

Four arrested in raids against Isis

Police raided 15 homes across Germany over the weekend and arrested four suspected supporters of the Islamic State (Isis). They are alleged to have smuggled a teenager and thousands of winter military clothes to the terrorist group's frontlines. READ  

Munich Refugee Crisis
'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'
Hassan, pictured outside the Bayernkaserne with two of his children, arrived in Munich from Syria. Photo: Mariane Schroeder

'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'

Around 300 refugees are arriving in Munich each day, but accommodation centres are full. With authorities struggling for answers, The Local meets those at the sharp end of the crisis. READ  

Train Strike
Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return
Photo: DPA

Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return

UPDATE: Deutsche Bahn trains are chugging along again after a 50-hour train strike cost the service "tens of millions" and brought travel headaches across the country, leaving millions of passengers struggling for transportation over the weekend as well as at least one mass brawl in its tracks. READ  

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt. Photo: DPA

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt plans to limit his road toll for foreigners initially to motorways only, Spiegel reported on Sunday. READ  

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open
The damaged bank branch. Photo: DPA

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open

Criminals robbed a Berliner Sparkasse bank branch early on Sunday morning - using a bomb. READ  

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry
French Economy and Finance Ministers Emmanuel Macron (l) and Michel Sapin. Photo: DPA

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry

French and German ministers are due to meet on Monday to discuss ways of boosting growth in Europe's two biggest economies, as Paris called on Berlin to step up investment. READ  

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours
Grounded. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has called a new 35-hour walkout at Lufthansa starting Monday, hours after a weekend-long rail strike finished. READ  

German dies after trying to take ravine photos
Photo: File photo/Shutterstock

German dies after trying to take ravine photos

A German student has died after falling into a steep ravine at a waterfall on a popular Malaysian resort island, police said on Sunday. READ  

Academic makes Twitter splash saying 'Nein'
File photo. DPA

Academic makes Twitter splash saying 'Nein'

Former Ivy League professor of German Eric Jarosinski has become a Twitter phenomenon developing a huge social media following thanks in no small part to saying no in German. READ  

Klopp slams Dortmund as slump continues
Jurgen Klopp looks downcast as Borussia Dortmund suffer another defeat. Photo: DPA

Klopp slams Dortmund as slump continues

Jurgen Klopp slammed his Borussia Dortmund side after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Cologne made it five Bundesliga games without a win ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at Galatasaray. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Travel
This is the man who has stopped Germany's trains
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Expats: Should I stay or should I go?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Which expat foods do you miss the most?
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
How to get hired at a Berlin startup
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
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

3,436
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd