German trade slumps in April
Trade between Germany and the rest of the world slumped in April, official data showed on Wednesday, underpinning forecasts for a slowdown in global activity in the middle part of the year.
German exports fell by 5.5 percent from the previous month while imports declined by 2.5 percent, the national statistics office said in a statement.
Germany, the world's second largest exporter after China, posted a seasonal and calendar-corrected trade surplus of 12 billion euros ($17.6 billion).
The total value of exports came to 85.9 billion euros, the corrected figures showed, while the country imported goods worth 73.9 billion euros.
Figures provided by the German central bank that give a broader picture of trade showed a current account surplus of 8.8 billion euros in April, down sharply from 12 billion in the same month a year earlier.
After enjoying a very strong first quarter, the German economy, Europe's biggest, is forecast to slow a bit in coming months but still post a strong annual growth rate of around 3.0 percent according to private economists.
Falling unemployment should lead to stronger domestic consumption, a pillar of growth that has been less reliable than exports in the past.
A breakdown of the figures released on Wednesday showed that the biggest annual increase in both exports and imports by Germany was to countries outside the European Union, with gains of 18.6 percent and 28.2 percent, respectively.
© 2011 AFP