Germany: Exports rise again in October
October trade data provided a glimmer of hope that the German economy could avoid a contraction in the fourth quarter of the year. Exports rose 1.2% month-on-month on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis, down slightly from the 1.5% increase recorded in September. Import growth was, however, flat in the month, which was down from the revised 1.2% expansion in September (previously reported: +1.3% month-on-month). The seasonally-adjusted trade surplus consequently rose from EUR 19.2 billion in September to EUR 20.6 billion at the outset of the final quarter of 2019.
Year-on-year export growth, meanwhile, slowed from 4.6% in September to 1.9% in October; the 12-month moving sum of exports grew 0.5% in October, down from the 1.0% expansion logged in September. On the other hand, imports fell 0.6% year-on-year in October, swinging from the 2.2% increase in September. Moreover, the 12-month moving sum of imports expanded 1.7% in October, down from the 2.7% rise in September. As a result, the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance widened from EUR 224.0 billion at the close of the third quarter to EUR 226.8 billion in October.
Despite the positive data, the President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, Holger Bingmann, remained cautious, noting that “on the stage of international trade policy, the signs of relaxation are missing. […]. An additional aggravating factor is that the WTO as an international trading institution is paralyzed by the US blockade on the appointment of new judges. […]. Equally crippling is the open election outcome in the UK. Regardless of the outcome, it is unlikely that it will determine the final political course for Brexit.”