Tuesday July 10, 2012
German exports, imports rebounded strongly in May
BERLIN: German exports jumped more than expected in May but imports gained even more, narrowing the trade surplus, as Europe's largest economy shrugged off the euro debt crisis and revived hopes it can shore up regional growth.
Exports rose a seasonally adjusted 3.9% while imports surged 6.3% , data from the Federal Statistics Office showed, far outperforming expectations for rises of 0.4% and 1.2% respectively. Economists said the increases were in part a correction after last month's dismal data.
The seasonally-adjusted data showed the trade surplus narrowing to 15 billion euros from 16.2 billion in January. The consensus forecast had seen it easing to 15.4 billion euros.
“The drop (in trade data) in the previous month was significant, so now we are seeing a considerable rebound,” said Stefan Schilbe at HSBC Trinkaus. “The rise in imports shows that the domestic economy is performing better. We expect that imports to Germany will remain strong.”
“There are factors weighing on the export side the euro debt crisis and the economic weakness in other regions of the world such as the United States. In China too we see a clear weakening tendency.”
Recent data has painted a mixed picture of the German economy, which has remained fairly robust throughout the eurozone crisis, posting 0.5% growth in the first quarter and helping to save the currency bloc from recession.
Many sentiment surveys have slipped, suggesting the crisis is beginning to take its toll, and last month's data showed both retail sales at home and demand from abroad dropping.
Yet industry orders and output figures published last week showing rises for May suggested Germany might not be heading for a contraction and that it remains broadly resilient to the crisis engulfing its eurozone peers.
A breakdown of yesterday's data showed that increased trade with regions beyond the eurozone such as Asia was compensating for sluggish trade within. Reuters