German Exports Recover; Trade Surplus Rises

09.07.2020 08:47 (UTC +0)

German exports recovered in May as most of the trading partners started to ease the coronavirus containment measures, data from Destatis revealed Thursday.

Exports grew 9 percent month-on-month in May, reversing a 24 percent decline in April. This was the first increase in three months. Nonetheless, shipments were expected to grow at a much faster pace of 13.8 percent.

At the same time, imports climbed 3.5 percent after falling 16.6 percent a month ago. Economists had expected a 12 percent rise.

As a result, the trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted EUR 7.6 billion from EUR 3.4 billion in April. This was above economists' forecast of EUR 5.2 billion.

May trade data confirm that the V-shaped rebound is mainly taking place in the domestic economy, Carsten Brzeski, an ING economist said. Exports still have a long way to go before returning to pre-crisis levels, he noted. On a yearly basis, exports plunged 29.7 percent compared to a 31.1 percent fall in April, Destatis reported. At the same time, imports decreased at a steady pace of 21.7 percent in May.

On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus decreased sharply to EUR 7.1 billion from EUR 20.7 billion in the prior year.

The current account balance showed a surplus of EUR 6.5 billion versus EUR 13.3 billion surplus seen in the same period last year.

Exports to China decreased rather moderately by 12.3 percent to EUR 7.2 billion in May.

Meanwhile, shipments to the United States, which have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, plunged 36.5 percent. Exports to the UK showed a particularly strong decrease of 46.9 percent.

Exports to the EU countries decreased 29.0 percent annually, and imports from those countries fell 25.2 percent. Likewise, exports to Eurozone economies fell 29.1 percent and imports from those nations decreased 25.2 percent.

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