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Germany: Imports exceed exports for the first time since 2008


The value of imports to Germany exceeds that of exports for the first time in a long time. Industry is already fearing an export downturn. Energy prices are also to blame.

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A container ship in the port of Hamburg in June


Axel Heimken / dpa

Farewell to world champion exporters: for the first time in at least 14 years, Germany reported a negative trade balance in May.

The value of imports from other countries to Germany exceeded the value of exports, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office.

Imports increased by 27.8 percent to 126.7 billion euros compared to the same month last year.

Exports increased by 11.7 percent to 125.8 billion euros.

The foreign trade balance closed with a minus of around one billion euros after calendar and seasonal adjustments.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, it was the first trade deficit in a month since January 2008. The figures from before 2008 are not comparable due to a change in statistics.

For years, Europe's largest economy exported more than it imported.

This repeatedly caused criticism from trading partners.

Former US President Donald Trump was particularly bothered by this.

At the same time, Germany is dependent on energy imports from abroad.

Oil and gas prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of the Ukraine war.

Problems in the supply chains, lockdowns in China

Compared to April, exports of goods fell by 0.5 percent in May, while imports rose by 2.7 percent.

"The export downturn has begun," said DIHK foreign trade chief Volker Treier.

"Exporters are less and less able to pass on the cost increases caused by supply chains to international customers." In addition, important imported goods often do not arrive for further processing, especially because of the corona lockdowns in China.

An end to price increases and supply chain problems is not in sight.

According to the BGA industry association, the prospects are bleak.

At present, exports are mainly being supported by an increase in trade with the USA, said the President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), Dirk Jandura.

The order books of the companies are still full, but the orders are becoming rarer.

“And the situation could become even more dramatic if gas supplies from Russia were to be cut off.” He therefore believes there is no alternative to more free trade.

Exports to Russia increased in May by 29.4 percent to 1.0 billion euros compared to the previous month, despite the sanctions against the country.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-07-04

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