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Germany trade surplus bounces back in June

Europe's largest economy exported €16.9 billion more than it imported

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 2:47am
 

The German trade balance showed an increased surplus in June when exports rose from the May level, data showed yesterday, just as fellow export powerhouse China reported upbeat figures.

The surplus amounted to €16.9 billion (HK$175 billion), up from a final figure of €13.6 billion in May, the federal statistics office said. Exports are key to the German economy, Europe's biggest, and have helped the country avoid the worst of the euro-zone debt crisis that has engulfed many of its neighbours.

But weak demand from European partners led exports to slip sharply in May. The euro edged higher after the German data. It was trading at US$1.34 last night.

China on Thursday posted an unexpected jump in both imports and exports in July, with its trade surplus falling 29.6 per cent year on year to US$17.8 billion.

Analyst Christian Schulz of Berenberg Bank called the news from both countries "encouraging" and said Germany was making some progress in moving away from its heavy reliance on exports.

"German rebalancing is not an unmitigated success yet, as the recession in the crisis countries and thus falling imports are largely the cause for it," he said.

"But as the reforms in the euro-zone periphery start to improve competitiveness, their exporters can increasingly compete for German demand as well."

Carsten Brzeski of ING-DiBa said the figures pointed to a further "decoupling" of the German economy from its euro-zone peers, as it looked to US and British demand to speed up.

"The future path of German exports will be determined by two opposing trends: the recovery in the US and the UK and the slowdown in emerging economies," he said.

"Up to now, German exporters have benefited from the better-than-expected performance in the US and the UK."

Johannes Gareis of Natixis said that the German data had outstripped expectations but said that the improved June figures could not compensate for the weak performance in May.

"All in all, [the] reading indicates that the German economy cannot count on external demand as a driver of overall growth in the second quarter," he said. "For the rest of this year, we expect this trend to continue."

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