Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

Germany Trade November 2019

Germany: Exports contract in November

November trade data was little cause for jubilation. Exports contracted 2.3% month-on-month on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis in the month, contrasting the upwardly revised 1.5% expansion in October (previously reported: +1.2% month-on-month). Meanwhile, imports also fell in November, dropping 0.5% month-on-month and swinging from the upwardly revised 0.5% expansion in the prior month (previously reported: 0.0% mom). As a consequence, the seasonally-adjusted trade balance narrowed from a EUR 20.4 billion surplus in October to a EUR 18.3 billion surplus in November.

Trade data in annual terms was also disappointing, as exports fell 2.9% over the same month a year prior in November (October: +2.1% year-on-year, previously reported: +1.9% yoy). The 12-month moving sum of exports therefore grew 0.2% in November, down from the 0.5% increase logged in the prior month. Imports, meanwhile, contracted 1.6% year-on-year in November (October: -0.1% yoy, previously reported: -0.6% yoy) and growth in the 12-month moving sum of imports slowed to 1.3% in November from 1.8% in the prior month. All in all, the 12-month rolling sum of the trade balance narrowed slightly from a EUR 226.6 billion surplus in October to a EUR 226.2 billion surplus.

Commenting on the data, the President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, Holger Bingmann, noted that with the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East “it becomes increasingly difficult for [companies] to navigate the troubled waters of the global economy. It is therefore all the more important that the conditions for the economy here in Germany are right. For this, real tax and bureaucratic relief is urgently needed instead of flash-fire programs”.

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