Germany: Exports rise fractionally in December
Trade data for December proved little reason for optimism. Exports rose a measly 0.1% month-on-month on a seasonally- and calendar-adjusted basis, although this contrasted the 2.2% drop in November. Imports, meanwhile, fell 0.7% month-on-month in December, down from the 0.6% drop in November. Consequently, the calendar- and seasonally-adjusted trade surplus widened to EUR 19.2 billion in December, from EUR 18.5 billion in the prior month.
Annual trade data was better, however. Exports grew 2.3% year-on-year in December, swinging from a 2.8% fall in November. Consequently, the 12-month moving average of export growth rose to 0.8%, up from 0.3% in November. Imports also rebounded, growing 1.2% over the same month a year prior and contrasting the 1.7% annual drop recorded in November, with the 12-month rolling average of import growth edging up to 1.4% in December from 1.3% in November. All said, the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance narrowed slightly to EUR 226.1 billion in December from EUR 226.3 billion in November.
The president of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, Holger Bingmann, commented on the December data by stating that: “The past weeks and months have shown how sensitive our globally networked economy can be to epidemics and trade disputes. […] With the economic downturn, the Brexit and now the spread of the Corona virus, we have further challenges to be mastered this year.”