Germany: Merchandise exports lose steam in December
Merchandise exports grew 0.9% month-on-month in December (November: +1.8% year-on-year). Meanwhile, merchandise imports shot up 4.7% in monthly terms in December (November: +3.4% yoy).
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 6.8 billion surplus in December (November 2021: USD 10.8 billion surplus; December 2020: USD 16.7 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 13.9 billion surplus in December, compared to the USD 12.9 billion surplus in November.
Carsten Brzeski, global head of macro at ING, added:
“Another solid month for German exports suggests that the export sector prevented the entire economy from falling into a more severe contraction than the recorded -0.7% quarter-on-quarter. Strong import growth bodes well for exports going forward. […] However, we will first need to see industrial production picking up again before exports surge as well. It is very simple: without any new production, there won’t be new exports. In this regard, the soft pick up in manufacturing output in December is a glimmer of hope, adding to our view of a more sustainable recovery for German exports in the course of the year.”