German exports see highest rise in almost 2 years

08 Nov 2019

German exports German exports recorded their biggest increase in nearly two years in September, according to data published on Friday.

The upbeat figures offered some relief for the eurozone’s largest economy, as fears that the country could tip into a recession in the third quarter escalated. 

Figures from the Federal Statistics Office showed seasonally adjusted exports climbing 1.5% month-on-month. This marked the biggest rise seen since November 27, and arrived against economist forecasts of a 0.4% increase. 

“This looks like a revival in foreign trade but looking at the whole year, September is more of an outlier,” said Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg economist Jens-Oliver Niklasch. 

He noted that foreign trade was seen muted throughout the whole year, adding that “the risks in overseas trade have got smaller but have not yet disappeared.”

Germany’s manufacturers, which relies heavily on exports, have been struggling with weakening global growth and business uncertainty resulting from an ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States, as well as Britain’s twice-delayed unsteady departure from the European Union.

During the April-June period, the economy contracted by 0.1%, with recent data indicating that the manufacturing sector underperformed in the third quarter, possibly tipping the German economy into a recession – usually classified by two consecutive quarters of contraction. 

On Wednesday, a board of economists advising the government said that Germany’s long-term period of growth had finally come to an end, warning that the export-reliant economy was facing threats from a burgeoning trade war, but adding that they did not expect a “broad and deep recession.”

Additional data released this week has provided mixed signals of the country’s industrial sector, with production plummeting more than expected in September while orders surged beyond forecasts. German manufacturers remained trapped in a recession in October as new orders sank, a survey revealed. 

Imports hiked 1.3% in September, as per the figures published on Friday. The trade surplus extended to €19.2 billion versus an upwardly revised €18.7 billion the previous month. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast imports to remain stagnant, while the trade surplus was expected to come in at €18.1 billion. 

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