German trade activities have intensified in the first weeks of the new year. Statisticians said both exports and imports were on the rise in January, despite continuous problems in European markets.
Germany exported goods worth 88.6 billion euros ($115.2 billion) in January, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported on Monday. The figure marked a 3.1-percent rise year-on-year.
The Wiesbaden-based agency announced German imports in the same period totaled 74.9 billion euros in the first month of the year, up 2.9 percent from levels reached in January 2012.
Destatis reported a trade surplus of 13.7 billion euros, providing yet another signal that the country had been able to leave behind a 0.6-percent economic contraction in the final quarter of last year.
Is the worst over?
Berenberg Bank Chief Economist Christian Schulz spoke of an encouraging start to 2013. "The decent rise in imports is promising," he commented. "It points to healthy domestic demand despite the eurozone debt crisis."
January saw only a slight increase of German exports to the 17-member euro area, with shipments to the region edging up by a marginal 0.4 percent. By contrast, imports from the eurozone surged by 2.8 percent in January.
Commerzbank analyst Ralph Solveen told the Reuters news agency that overall demand was picking up again. "Trade has been particularly strong with customers in the US, China and other overseas markets, while no fresh impetus is to be expected from the eurozone any time soon," Solveen said.
hg/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)