(AFP) – Aug 8, 2012
FRANKFURT — The German trade surplus grew in June but both imports and exports fell as the debt crisis crimps demand in Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Wednesday.
Germany exported goods worth 92.3 billion euros ($114.5 billion) in seasonally-adjusted terms in June, 1.5 percent less than in May, the national statistics office Destatis said in a statement.
Imports were down 2.9 percent at 76.1 billion euros, so that the trade surplus increased to 16.2 billion euros from 15.3 billion euros in May.
Taking the first six months of 2012 as a whole, however, exports were still on the rise, climbing 4.8 percent over the year-earlier period to 550.4 billion euros in unadjusted terms, while imports were up 2.4 percent at 457.1 billion euros.
That meant the January-June trade surplus increased 18.4 percent to 93.3 billion euros.
Nevertheless, analysts said the long-running eurozone debt crisis is beginning to make itself felt on the German economy.
"A rather weak flow of orders from abroad for quite a long time is now having an impact on exports," said Commerzbank economist Ulrike Rondorf.
"The figures available so far suggest that the German economy expanded in the second quarter but the signs are now growing that gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to shrink in the third quarter," she said.
Natixis economist Constantin Wirschke agreed.
"The eurozone crisis is hurting ... Europe's largest economy," he said.
Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza said the decline in both imports and exports had been expected "as trade activity is under pressure due to the ongoing slowdown in demand."
Overall, "net trade is expected to be a drag on German GDP in the second quarter and prospects for the future are not brighter," she said.
Industrial orders data released Tuesday showed a marked decline in orders from abroad in June.
"Such a negative trend is unlikely to correct soon and the export-led German manufacturing sector will remain under pressure," Piazza said.
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