Germany's exports tumble on EU crisis
Berlin, June 9, 2012
German imports tumbled at their fastest rate in two years in April and exports fell, adding to evidence that Europe's largest economy is beginning to feel the chill from the euro zone debt crisis.
But while Germany has struggled to find buyers among its partners in the euro zone and has been importing less from countries including crisis-stricken Greece, its sales to non-European markets have surged.
The trade figures fuel concerns that Germany's immunity to the crisis is weakening and come as a blow to struggling euro zone countries that are looking to the bloc's dominant economy to buy more of their goods and offset the impact of the region's debt crisis.
Overall exports slid for the first time since December 2011, falling 1.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted data from the Federal Statistics Office showed yesterday. A poll had shown expectations of a 1pc decline, and economists said exports were likely to fall further in the coming months.
Exports to other euro zone countries fell 3.6pc year-on-year in April, but that was cushioned by a 10.3pc jump on the year in exports to other regions such as Asia.
Bundesbank data showed exports to Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy have become less important to Germany over the last two decades and now account for only 11pc of Germany's overall exports compared with 16pc in 1991.
As both exports and imports shrank, the seasonally adjusted trade surplus climbed to 16.1 billion euros ($20bn) from a revised 14bn in March, beating the consensus forecast for 13.5bn.