Germany reports record exports and imports in March
A pick up in global trade helped Germany post record exports and imports in March, official data showed on Monday, and its trade surplus climbed more than 11 percent on a 12-month basis to 18.9 billion euros ($27 billion).
Germany recorded exports worth 98.3 billion euros while taking in imports worth 79.4 billion euros, figures published by the national statistics office showed.
"That was the highest monthly figure recorded for both exports and imports since the collection of foreign trade statistics had started in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950," the national statistics service said.
When adjusted for calendar and seasonal effects, the country's trade surplus came to 15.2 billion euros in March, the Destatis office added.
Citing data provided by the German central bank, it said the current account of the balance of payments, a broad measure of a nation's trade with partners, came to 19.5 billion euros in March, up from 18.8 billion a year ago.
On an annualised basis, exports by Germany, the world's second-biggest exporter after China, gained 15.8 percent in March, while imports were 16.9 percent higher.
On a monthly basis, German exports were 7.3 percent stronger and imports were up by 3.1 percent.
"Though the late Easter should have been an important factor here, this number is indeed very strong," Commerzbank analyst Ulrike Rondorf said in reference to the export number, the biggest monthly gain since May 2010.
"Since the trough of the recession, exports have increased by more than 30%, returning to their pre-crisis level," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski noted.
"Looking ahead, exports should remain a reliable source for growth, even if the pace of export growth is about to slow down," he added.
A breakdown of the data showed that the biggest 12-month gain in exports was a 20 percent increase to countries outside the European Union.
Last week, the federation of German machine tool manufacturers, VDMA, said orders for their products, which are highly prized in emerging economies, grew further in the first quarter of 2011, though the pace slowed slightly.
A breakdown of that data showed foreign orders gained 31 percent.
Overall however, German industrial orders declined by a surprise four percent in March from February, the first fall this year, official figures showed on Thursday.
High prices for energy and other commodities have begun to sap global activity, and the pace of growth is forecast to slow later this year.
The German government now expects the economy to expand by 2.6 percent this year, and by 1.8 percent in 2012.
Commerzbank's Rondorf said: "We remain very comfortable with our forecast that the German economy will grow by 3.0% in 2011."
© 2011 AFP