Record German exports exceed €99 billion

Germany exported more than €99 billion worth of goods in October, a record high - but its trade surplus shrank as imports rose faster than exports.

Record German exports exceed €99 billion
Germany exported €99.1 billion worth of goods in October. Photo: DPA

Federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement on Monday that exports grew by 0.6 percent compared to October 2012 to reach €99.1 billion. This pushed the figure above the previous record set in March 2012.

Although imports were down by 1.6 percent over the figure from last October, they have accelerated hugely since then, and reached a value of €81.2 billion this October – an increase of 2.9 percent since a month previously.

This reduced the trade balance – the difference between exports and imports – to a surplus of €17.9 billion.

Export growth came on the back of rising demand in non-eurozone European Union countries, with exports to Poland, for example, up by 6.2 percent compared to last October. Goods sold outside Europe fell by 1.3 percent over the last 12 months.

Germany’s healthy trade surplus has led to criticism from both the USA and European Union who argue it is harming poorer countries in the eurozone.

They want Germany to invest more of its huge trade surplus to increase domestic consumer demand for goods from its European neighbours. 

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‘Trade has collapsed’: Germany sees business with UK slump after Brexit

Germany's exports ticked up in January on robust trade with China, but trade with another key trade partner, Great Britain, plummeted after the Britain left the EU.

'Trade has collapsed': Germany sees business with UK slump after Brexit
Southampton harbour. Photo:Andrew Matthews/DPA

The Brexit fallout has continued to hurt commerce with the United Kingdom, with federal statistics office Destatis recording a 29 percent plunge in German exports across the Channel.

Meanwhile, demand for UK goods in Germany collapsed by more than 56 percent, official data showed Tuesday.

Cross-Channel exporters have had to adapt to new customs requirements from January 1, following Britain’s 2016 decision to leave the European Union.

Firms on both sides have since complained of increased bureaucracy and shipment delays as they grapple with the new rules.

BREXIT: What changes in Germany from January 2021?

“Foreign trade with Britain has collapsed,” said LBBW bank economist Jens-Oliver Niklasch.

Overall, German exports rose 1.4 percent month-on-month in seasonally adjusted figures, Destatis said.

But imports sank as coronavirus shutdowns sapped consumer demand in Europe’s top economy.

Imports slumped 4.7 percent, widening Germany’s closely-watched trade surplus to 22.2 billion euros.

Compared with a year ago, before the pandemic ravaged the global economy, exports fell 8.0 percent in January and imports almost 10 percent.

“Consumer demand fell sharply in January due to a lack of opportunities” as the government kept non-essential shops, leisure and cultural centres closed to rein in the coronavirus,  Niklasch.

But demand for “made in Germany” goods was powered by vital trade partner China, which has recovered faster from the virus shock.

Exports to European Union countries plunged six percent year-on-year, while demand for EU goods within Germany was down by almost the same.

Combined with Germany’s struggles to bring down Covid-19 infections despite months of shutdowns, “the January reading is not an indication of renewed German export strength, but rather an alarm bell for the first quarter.”