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Financial News: German Trade Surplus Rises On Robust Rebound In

German Trade Surplus Rises On Robust Rebound In Exports

03/06/2024 - 07:54:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Germany's trade surplus increased at the start of the year as exports rebounded more than expected, providing a glimpse of hope to an otherwise weak economy.

Exports posted a monthly growth of 6.3 percent in January after falling 4.5 percent in the previous month, data released by Destatis showed on Wednesday. This was also far better than economists' forecast of a 1.5 percent increase.

Imports advanced 3.6 percent month-on-month, in contrast to the 6.7 percent decrease in December. They were expected to rise moderately by 1.8 percent.

Driven by the notable increase in exports, the trade surplus rose to EUR 27.5 billion from EUR 23.3 billion in December. The expected surplus was EUR 21.5 billion. On a yearly basis, exports gained 1.5 percent after easing 9.1 percent a month ago. At the same time, the annual decrease in imports slowed to 7.5 percent from 15.2 percent in December.

The unadjusted foreign trade balance showed a surplus of EUR 22.6 billion in January compared to EUR 11.7 billion surplus in the same period last year.

Most German exports went to the United States but shipments fell 1.7 percent from December. By contrast, exports to China grew 7.8 percent.

Imports mainly came from China. That said, imports from China decreased by 11.1 percent. Imports from the US also declined in January, by 5.2 percent.

The Purchasing Managers' survey results today showed that Germany's construction sector remained deep in the contraction zone in February.

The construction Purchasing Manages' Index hit a five-month high of 39.1 in February, up from 36.3 in January. The current sequence of decline stretched back to April 2022.

In the Spring forecast, released Wednesday, the ifo Institute said the German economy paralyzed as higher interest rates and fiscal policies hurt recovery.

The growth projection for this year was trimmed to 0.2 percent from 0.9 percent, while the outlook for 2025 was lifted to 1.5 percent from 1.3 percent.

"Consumer restraint, high interest rates and price hikes, the government's austerity measures, and the weak global economy are currently dampening the economy in Germany and leading to another winter recession," Timo Wollmershauser, deputy director and head of forecasts at ifo, said.

Elsewhere, the Kiel Institute also markedly revised down its projections.

The think tank said the path out of the economic slump takes more time, with a moderate recovery setting in later this year. The institute forecast the economy to grow 0.1 percent this year and 1.2 percent in 2025. The projection for 2024 was lowered from 0.9 percent.

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