Container terminal in the port of Hamburg: Saus at sea almost dissolved
Photo: Daniel Reinhardt / dpa
A glimmer of hope for Germany, the European export champion threatened by a recession: According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), global trade is picking up speed at the beginning of the year and could be on the verge of a longer upswing.
The trade indicator signals growth in world trade in January of 2.1 percent compared to the previous month, as the researchers announced on Tuesday.
"This is particularly spurring on European and German foreign trade," it said.
Accordingly, the barometer for German foreign trade is clearly pointing upwards for both exports (+2.1 percent) and imports (+2.6 percent).
The EU is benefiting even more from the global momentum with a strong increase in exports (+3.0 percent) and imports (+3.2 percent).
The two largest economies in the world, the USA and China, are also showing an increase in exports, but a minus in imports.
"January brought great leaps in German and European foreign trade and thus a good start to the new year," said IfW expert Timo Hoffmann.
"Germany is obviously benefiting from a high demand for German products abroad, which is also reflected in the high order backlog in industry." China's trade, on the other hand, still has room for improvement.
Weak imports there signaled subdued domestic demand.
Easing congestion on the oceans fits in with the positive start to the year.
Only eight percent of all goods shipped worldwide are currently stuck, as determined by the IfW.
At the height of the delivery bottlenecks, it was almost 14 percent.
"For the first time since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, ship congestion has reached a level that was reached before the pandemic and that does not have to be classified as a disruption," said Hoffmann.
The main reason for the reduction in congestion is probably that fewer goods were transported by sea worldwide.
"On the one hand, this can be explained by the fact that freight forwarders have probably organized alternative transport routes via rail or road in the wake of ship jams and skyrocketing freight rates and are now maintaining them," said the IfW expert.
In addition, China's weak demand has consequences.
"The volume of freight in the Red Sea - the most important sea trade route between Europe and China - is noticeably below the normal volume before the outbreak of the corona crisis."