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German Exports Fall Most In A Year

(RTTNews) - Germany's exports and imports declined more-than-expected in February at the fastest pace in a year, as demand ebbed amid the global uncertainties, adding to concerns sparked by recent data that growth in the biggest economy in the euro area remained sluggish in the first quarter.

Exports fell a calendar and seasonally-adjusted 1.3 percent month-on-month, preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Monday, while economists had forecast a 0.4 percent drop.

The decline was the first in three months and the biggest since February 2018, when shipments shrunk 2.3 percent.

January's originally reported stagnation was revised to a 0.1 percent gain.

Imports decreased 1.6 percent in February, which was more than double the 0.7 percent slump economists had forecast.

The 1.5 percent growth originally reported for January was revised down slightly to 1.4 percent.

On a year-on-year basis, exports increased 3.9 percent year-on-year following 1.7 percent rise in the previous month. Imports climbed 5.1 percent after a 4.9 percent rise in January. Both exports and imports grew for a second straight month.

Exports to the EU rose 3.8 percent year-on-year and imports grew 6.7 percent. Shipments to the euro area increased 3.2 percent and imports from the group jumped 7.5 percent.

Germany's exports to non-euro EU countries rose 4.8 percent and imports rose 5.1 percent.

Shipments to countries outside the euro area increased 4.1 percent and imports rose 3 percent.

The trade surplus, however, grew to EUR 17.9 billion from EUR 14.6 billion in January, but was smaller than the EUR 18.3 billion a year ago. Economists had forecast a surplus of EUR 19 billion.

The calendar and seasonally adjusted foreign trade surplus was EUR 18.7 billion in February.

The current account surplus decreased to EUR 16.3 billion from EUR 18.8 billion in January and EUR 19.5 billion in the same month last year.

"Today's trade data is yet another disappointment for the German economy," ING economist Carsten Brzeski said.

"However, chances are high that the February disappointments simply came at the trough of global uncertainties and that some improvement is in the offing."

Official data released last week showed that industrial production rose in February after stagnating at the start of the year, driven by a surge in construction, while manufacturing output dropped.

Germany's manufacturing orders unexpectedly decreased in February at the fastest pace in over two years, mainly driven by a slump in foreign demand.

The country's leading economics research institutes slashed their forecast for economic growth this year, but re-affirmed that the likelihood of a recession is very small.
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