Germany: Merchandise exports grow at softer pace in December
Merchandise exports rose 0.1% month-on-month on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis in December, down from the 2.3% rise recorded in November. Imports, meanwhile, dropped 0.1% month-on-month in December, swinging from the 5.4% expansion in November. The calendar- and seasonally-adjusted trade surplus, moreover, widened to a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted EUR 16.1 billion from EUR 15.9 billion in November.
On an annual basis, merchandise exports grew 2.7% in December, contrasting the 1.2% drop recorded in the prior month. Import growth, meanwhile, accelerated from 0.5% in November to 3.5% in December. Lastly, the trend pointed down as the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance narrowed to EUR 177.0 billion in December from EUR 180.1 billion in November.
Carsten Brzeski, global head of macro at ING, added:
“The German export sector, almost like no other, has benefited from the continuing recovery of China and other Asian countries. 2020 was the year in which China became the second most important destination for German exporters, taking over this position from France. The US is still the single most important export destination, but China is catching up. (…). Looking ahead, there are several opposing factors shaping the outlook for the German export sector. On the positive side, there is the strong Chinese recovery and the new US administration, which should both benefit German exports. On the more negative side, however, there will come a time when China no longer needs German products but can produce them on its own. Also, the export sector remains subject to structural changes in the global economy, particularly the transition away from traditional manufacturing toward services, high tech and electric vehicles.”