German Exports Continue To Expand In August

German exports continued to grow in August, albeit at a slower pace, and imports growth gained momentum with the recovery in domestic demand, data from Destatis revealed Thursday.

Exports were up by more-than-expected 2.4 percent in August from July. Economists had forecast growth to slow to 1.4 percent from 4.7 percent in July.

Meanwhile, the month-on-month increase in imports accelerated to 5.8 percent from 1.1 percent. Imports were also forecast to climb 1.4 percent.

As the increase in imports exceeded the exports growth, the trade surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 15.7 billion from EUR 18 billion in July. The expected level was EUR 18.2 billion.

Compared with February, the month before restrictions were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, exports were down 9.9 percent, and imports 6.4 percent when adjusted for calendar and seasonal variations.

On a yearly basis, exports were down 10.2 percent, following an 11 percent decrease in July. Likewise, imports dropped 7.9 percent versus an 11.3 percent fall in the previous month.

In August, the trade surplus decreased to an unadjusted EUR 12.8 billion from EUR 16.4 billion in the same period last year.

Exports to China decreased by just 1.1 percent annually to EUR 7.3 billion. At the same time, shipments to the United States, which have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, declined 21.1 percent to EUR 7.7 billion.

Imports from China remained unchanged from last year, while imports from the US decreased 5.2 percent.

Data showed that the current account surplus increased to EUR 16.5 billion from EUR 15.9 billion last year.

Looking ahead, exports could temporarily lead the entire economy into the fourth quarter, Carsten Brzeski, an ING economist said. However, it is unlikely to see a sustainable decoupling from exports and domestic activity.

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