Germany: German trade surplus registers record high in 2016
February 9, 2017
The seasonally- and calendar-adjusted trade surplus fell from EUR 21.8 billion in November to EUR 18.3 billion in December, driven down by a fall in exports. In December, exports fell 3.3% from the previous month, contrasting November’s 3.9% increase and marking the worst result since August 2015. Import growth was flat in December, after growing 3.5% in November.
Compared to the same month of the previous year, exports increased 6.3% in December, up from November’s 5.7% increase. Imports also accelerated, increasing 7.4% in December, following November’s 4.4% increase. In the full year 2016, exports grew 1.2%, down from the 6.2% expansion in 2015. The trend was the same for imports, which increased just 0.6% in 2016, well below the 4.3% rise in 2015, pushing the 2016 trade balance to EUR 249.7 bn, down from EUR 242.5 bn in 2015.
In a recent statement, the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) commented that 2016’s trade performance came mainly on the back of price effects. The value of imports was dampened because of low oil prices while German exports benefited from a relatively weak euro. While the BGA expects trade to have a solid start to the year, it also underlined how mounting uncertainty in the international environment could adversely impact the German external sector.
Author: Christopher Mc Innes, Economist