German exports fall 2.9 per cent year on year in November

Frankfurt (dpa) – German exports dropped 2.9 per cent in November compared to last year, according to the latest official data, with Europe’s largest economy feeling the pinch of global trade tensions.

German firms exported goods worth 112.9 billion euros (125.5 billion dollars) that month, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said on Thursday.

Imports also shrank by 1.6 per cent to 94.6 billion euros.

Compared to October, exports declined by 2.3 per cent and imports by 0.5 per cent.

In the first 11 months of 2019, Germany managed a slim year-on-year increase in exports of 0.7 per cent to 1.23 trillion euros, marking far weaker growth than the country has seen in recent years.

There was some good news for the German economy on Thursday as data showed the country recovering from a slump in industrial production.

Preliminary figures had production up 1.1 per cent in November on the previous month, when a sharp decline of 1.7 per cent worried analysts. That October figure was also revised on Thursday to 1.0 per cent.

Year on year, November production figures fell by 2.6 per cent. Analysts had previously forecast a 3.7-per-cent decline.

“Overall, the sharpest slumps are probably behind us, but the industrial recession is not yet over,” said Nils Jannsen, a senior researcher for the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

The trade war between China and the United States has been a key reason for the slump. Its impact has been felt globally, including by China, creating problems for Germany’s export-focused economy.

Germany’s Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) recently predicted that German exports would grow by 0.5 per cent over the whole of 2019.

The dispute between China and the US has produced a string of tit-for-tat tariffs over an almost two-year period. Tensions subsided following an agreement struck in December on a partial trade agreement between the world’s two largest economies.

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