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Trade

Controversial German exports at all-time high, but imports also rising

Germany is increasingly becoming the engine for growth in Europe taking in rising volumes of goods from its continental trading partners. In October, imports rose strongly, while exports also surged to a new record high.

In October, German companies exported more goods and services than ever before in a single month, according to the latest trade data released by the German statistics office, Destatis, on Monday.

Export volume grew to 99.1 billion euros ($136 billion) in the month, beating the last exports record of 98.7 billion euros set in March 2012, Destatis said.

Destatis data showed that exports to European Union countries outside of the crisis-hit eurozone gained the most significantly, with an increase of 6.2 percent compared to the previous month of September. Eurozone member states took in 0.1 percent less from Germany, while overseas deliveries to countries such as China and the United States shrank by 1.3 percent.

More importantly, however, the volume of goods and services taken in by Germany grew at an even stronger rate than exports in October. Imports gained 2.9 percent to 76.1 billion euros after falling in the previous month.

Noting that Germany appeared to become the engine for growth in Europe, Berenberg Bank analyst Christian Schulz said that Europe's biggest economy was supporting the export-driven recoveries in recession-plagued eurozone members.

"The recovery in Germany means that companies invest more and consumers spend more. This increases imports which is good for the eurozone," he told Reuters news agency.

As Germany's huge trade surplus - marking the difference between exports and imports - narrowed to 17.9 billion euros in October, international criticism of the country's spiraling exports might be silenced.

In October, the US Treasury Department said in a report to Congress that Germany's anemic domestic demand and dependence on exports hampered efforts to shore up struggling eurozone countries.

Moreover, the EU Executive Commission announced it would launch an investigation into the country's export policy to see if it unfairly disadvantaged Germany's trading partners.

uhe/kms (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)