German exports gain 18.5 percent in 2010: statistics
German exports grew by 18.5 percent in 2010 to 951.9 billion euros ($1.3 trillion), the national statistics office said on Wednesday, while Berlin's trade surplus gained 11.2 percent to 154.3 billion.
Germany, the world's second biggest exporter after China, also took in imports worth 797.6 billion euros, the Destatis office said, a jump of 20.0 percent from the level in 2009.
Germany has been criticized by eurozone partners with weaker economies for not buying more goods from them, but a breakdown of the figures showed imports rose faster than exports for both the eurozone and broader 27-member European Union in 2010.
German exports to eurozone partners, which numbered 15 last year, grew by 12.7 percent while imports were up by 16.7 percent.
For the full EU, German exports gained 14 percent, but imports rose by 17.5 percent.
Germany, which has the biggest European economy, and France, which has the second biggest economy in the now 17-member eurozone, are pressing heavily indebted partners to reform their economies in exchange for financial backing.
Officials in Berlin have estimated the German economy will grow by 2.3 percent, and that its public deficit will fall below the EU's 3.0 percent limit this year to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
German growth has been driven by exports, but falling unemployment, higher wages and increased corporate investment had raised hopes that domestic demand would help underpin a sustained expansion of activity.
In December however, German exports grew by 0.5 percent on a monthly basis, while imports fell by 2.3 percent.
While China is growing in importance as a trade partner, eurozone countries, others in eastern Europe and the United States are also key buyers of products made in Germany, ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski noted.
"It is this diversification which should be a warrantor for further export strength in 2011," he said.
© 2011 AFP