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Germany: Trade balance widens in October; imports drop more than exports

December 9, 2015

The seasonally- and calendar-adjusted trade surplus widened from EUR 19.3 billion in September to EUR 20.8 billion in October. The trade surplus rose over the previous month as imports shrank at a faster pace than exports. Exports fell a seasonally-adjusted 1.2% over the previous month, which contrasted September’s 2.6% increase. Meanwhile, imports recorded the largest decrease since April 2012, falling 3.4% in October (September: +3.8% year-on-year).

Compared to the same month last year, exports gained 3.3% in October, which was down from September’s 4.3% growth and marked the slowest expansion in nine months. Imports’ growth decelerated from September’s 4.0% to 3.0% in October. The 12-month sum of exports to October grew 6.3% over the same period last year and the 12-month trade surplus totaled EUR 245.5 billion, reaching yet another all-time high.

In a recent statement, the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) commented that German foreign trade was rather subdued at the outset of 2015’s final quarter. According to the BGA, October’s print confirmed that EU-countries remained Germany’s key trading partners, while trade with non-euro area countries was rather weak. Adding to this, the BGA cautioned that current tailwinds for the economy—including a weak euro, the ongoing U.S. recovery and cheap oil—do not compensate for sluggish demand from trading partners such as China.


Author: Teresa Kersting, Economist

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Germany Trade Chart


Germany Trade12m October 2015

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in EUR billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports in %.
Source: Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) and FocusEconomics calculations.


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