Germany: Trade surplus narrows as growth in exports flattens in June
August 8, 2018
External sector data for June showed a mixed picture, with weak month-on-month data but more positive annual data. Export growth in June was flat on a seasonally- and calendar-adjusted basis, contrasting the previous month’s revised 1.7% increase (previously reported: +1.8% month-on-month). In contrast, growth in imports picked up pace from 0.7% in May to 1.2% in June, reaching a total value of EUR 93.7 billion—the highest value on record since federal records began in 1950. Subsequently, the trade surplus narrowed from a revised EUR 20.4 billion in May (previously reported: EUR 20.3 billion) to EUR 19.3 billion in June. The lion’s share of trade was conducted with European Union member states, specifically those within the single currency bloc.
External sector data was more positive on an annual basis. Exports grew 7.8% year-on-year in June, contrasting the 1.3% contraction in May. Import growth also sped up and accelerated from a 0.9% expansion in the previous month to a 10.2% increase in June.
Annual growth in the 12-month moving sum of exports increased from 4.5% in May to 5.1% in June, while growth in the 12-month moving sum of imports accelerated to 6.1% in June from 5.6% in the prior month. As a result, the 12-month accumulative trade surplus edged down from a revised EUR 248.6 billion (previously reported: EUR 248.9 billion) in May to EUR 247.1 billion in June.
Commenting on the June results, Holger Bingmann, President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) states:
“The companies have withstood the trade unpredictability and demonstrated their entrepreneurial skills […] [but] despite the strong first half-year we do not look to the future with confidence. On the export side, the well-performing economy in the eurozone more than compensated for the rather weak third-country markets. Despite the good performance, it shows that the political tone and decisions of recent months have already left their mark, for example in trade with the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Author: Jan Lammersen, Economist