German export engine revs up

10th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

10 March 2004, WIESBADEN - Germany's key export sector shrugged off the strong euro as the new year started, with exports in January rising 4.4 percent year-on-year, officials reported Wednesday. The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said exports came to EUR 55.7 billion, while imports, at EUR 43.4 billion, were down 2.2 percent from January 2003 levels. The resulting EUR 12.3 billion trade surplus was more than one- third higher than the 9 billion surplus in 2003, the office figures showed. Citing pr

10 March 2004

WIESBADEN - Germany's key export sector shrugged off the strong euro as the new year started, with exports in January rising 4.4 percent year-on-year, officials reported Wednesday.

The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said exports came to EUR 55.7 billion, while imports, at EUR 43.4 billion, were down 2.2 percent from January 2003 levels.

The resulting EUR 12.3 billion trade surplus was more than one- third higher than the 9 billion surplus in 2003, the office figures showed.

Citing preliminary figures from the Deutsche Bundesbank, the office said the balance on current accounts - the sum of visible trade, services and transfers - showed a deficit of EUR 1.2 billion. In January 2003 the deficit was 1.5 billion euros.

The office figures showed that the high value of the euro had not hurt exports outside the European Union, but that the growth in exports was below the overall average in January.

German exports outside the EU, at EUR 24.8 billion, were up 2.3 percent on January 2003 figures. Imports from outside the EU fell 9 percent to EUR 19.4 billion.

In trade with the 14 EU partners, German exports rose 6.2 percent to EUR 30.9 billion. Imports, at EUR 24 billion, were up 4.1 percent on January 2003 levels.

But in another reminder of the fragile state of the German economy, the nation’s key electronics industry said it was sober about 2004 prospects.

Coming off a year of stagnation in 2003, Germany's electronics sector is expecting a maximum 2 percent growth, the industry's top official said Wednesday.

"Our expectations are rather low-key," said Dietmar Harting, president of the German electronics industry federation ZVEI in Frankfurt. "To date there are no really unassailable indications pointing to any self-sustaining upswing."

He said factors working against the industry are uncertainty among consumers and a bottleneck in reforms and investments. In 2003, turnover in the industry was EUR 154.9 billion, the same as the year before.

"In January, orders were slightly below those of January 2003," Harting said, pointing out that the first month last year had seen an unusually strong volume.

German electronics' companies business in 2003 was carried by exports, he said, and this year's projected growth will also depend on export markets, chiefly Eastern Europe and Asia.

At home, the sector may see at most 1 percent turnover growth, the ZVEI chief executive said. But in the key market of consumer electronics goods, there will only be stagnation.

Harting said these prospects did not bode well for employment, after the industry last year lost 2.7 percent of its employment to a year-end level of 819,000, the lowest level since 1960.

"For 2004 I am expecting a further loss of jobs in the range of upwards of 10,000," he warned.

 

DPA
Subject: German news

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