Germany: November trade data disappoints as fears of a technical recession remain
January 9, 2019
Exports contracted 0.4% over the previous month in November, swinging from an upwardly revised 0.9% month-on-month expansion in October (previously reported: +0.4% month-on-month). However, as import growth contracted 1.6% mom in November, contrasting the 0.8% mom expansion in October, the seasonally- and calendar-adjusted trade surplus widened from EUR 17.3 billion in October to EUR 19.0 billion in November.
Year-on-year export growth in November was flat, contrasting a strong 8.7% expansion in October. Subsequently, growth in the 12-month moving sum of exports moderated from 4.4% in October to 3.7% in November. Import growth in November compared to the same month a year prior also eased markedly from 10.8% in October to 3.6% in November. As a result, the 12-month moving sum of imports expanded 6.0% in November, down from the 6.4% increase in October. Furthermore, the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance narrowed from a EUR 234.9 billion surplus in October to a EUR 231.6 billion surplus in November.
Commenting on the result, Dr. Holger Bingmann, president of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, Services (BGA) noted that “only the [year-on-year] increase in imports is good news […] because it signals a robust business cycle in this country.” Carsten Brzeski, chief Germany economy at ING, added that “[November’s] trade data do very little to take away the fears of a technical recession [but that] private consumption, government expenditures and investments could prevent the economy falling into a technical recession.”
Author: Jan Lammersen, Economist