German export strength prompts Brussels rebuke

DPA/The Local
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German export strength prompts Brussels rebuke

Germany continues to export more to fellow Euro members than it imports despite the overall figure shrinking in 2013, new figures showed on Thursday.


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Economic data published by the Federal Statistics Office Destatis showed that German exports to the Eurozone decreased by one percent while imports grew by 1.6 percent.

That translated into an imbalance of €58.6 billion in favour of exports, the statisticians said.

“We don't have an excessive imbalance,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, said at a meeting of EU finance ministers on Thursday.

“We have a small surplus. We're doing a lot to increase internal demand and we're also increasing investment activity," Schäuble added in response to criticism of Germany's trade imbalance. 

The European Commission had already called on Germany to take action against the surplus in March to avoid risks to the German economy and the broader currency union.

Germany does not run the risk of being punished by the EU for its surplus, but will be closely watched as the Commission seeks to prevent national economies from drifting too far apart within the single currency area.

The assembled finance ministers called for more investment in all member states to support long-term growth.

The economic recovery in other single currency member states was partly to blame for Germany's excess, as the fourth quarter of 2013 saw exports increase by 1.8 percent over the same period in 2012.

Worldwide, German exports in the final three months of the year increased by 1.9 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2012 while imports remained the same.

Exports to EU countries outside the single currency area increased by six percent, but imports from those countries increased by 6.6 percent.


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