Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

Germany Trade January 2018

Germany: Exports record largest contraction in over six months in January

Exports started the year off on a sour note in January, falling at the sharpest pace since June. In seasonally- and calendar-adjusted terms, exports contracted 0.5% month-on-month, contrasting the prior month’s revised flat rate (previously reported: +0.3%). Imports also contracted on a seasonally- and calendar-adjusted basis, falling 0.5% mom and contrasting December’s 1.1% mom growth rate. As a result, Germany’s trade surplus was stable at December’s revised EUR 21.3 billion (previously reported: EUR 1.4 billion) in January (January 2017: EUR 18.6 billion).

In year-on-year terms, however, the pace of growth of exports jumped from 3.6% in December to 8.6% in January. Import growth also picked up pace and increased 6.7% year-on-year, notably above the prior month’s 4.7% yoy pace of growth. Meanwhile, the 12-month moving sum of exports increased 6.1% in January, which was slightly below the prior month’s 6.2% expansion. The 12-month moving sum of imports also lost steam, growing 7.9%, below December’s 8.3% increase. The 12-month accumulative trade balance increased to nearly a one-year high in January, rising to EUR 249 billion (December: EUR 246 billion).

Commenting on the January result, Dr. Holger Bingmann, President of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), stated that, “Foreign trade started the new year with a strong surplus. The numbers are in stark contrast to what we are experiencing right now. U.S. President Trump deliberately ignited the next stage of escalations. […] We are relieved to see that the formation of a government is now gaining momentum, so that Germany can quickly get actively involved in the debated on the European as well as on the international stage and make the necessary decisions. […] We need a strong Europe.”

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