In January, both German exports and imports made strong comebacks from a weak year-end in 2013. Exports rose at their fastest pace in almost two years, while imports surprised even more.
In January, Germany exported goods and services worth 94.5 billion euros ($131 billion), gaining from December 2013 exports totaling 92.5 billion euros, according to the latest figures released by the country's statistics office, Destatis.
Announced Tuesday, the monthly increase of 2.2 percent surprised analysts because a 0.9 percent slump in exports in December had caught them on the wrong foot. In consensus forecasts, they had expected an increase of just 1.5 percent for January.
Demand for German goods was especially strong in EU countries not belonging to the eurozone. Those nations took in 9.1 percent more than in the same month a year ago. Exports to nations outside of Europe, however, fell 0.4 percent.
For imports to Germany in January, the gain was even stronger, coming in at a plus of 4.1 percent compared with December. The result underlined the strength of domestic demand at the start of the new year, Destatis reported.
On balance, the German monthly trade surplus narrowed again in seasonally adjusted terms, which might allay fears that the export strength of Europe's biggest economy would hurt the recovery in other EU countries. At the end of 2013, Germany was severely criticized for its huge 2013 trade surplus amounting to 199 billion euros. The European Commission even launched an investigation into the issue, finding that Germany's trade imbalance had had an adverse impact on economic development.
uhe/mkg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)