German exports drop in April: data

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Exports from Germany, the biggest European economy, slumped in April, cutting its trade surplus by more than 20 percent, data released on Tuesday by the national statistics office showed.

The value of German exports fell by a seasonally adjusted 5.9 percent from their level in March to 74.3 billion euros (88.9 billion dollars), while imports dropped by 7.3 percent to 61.2 billion, the Destatis office said.

German exports had soared in March and economists had expected the April figures to come in somewhat lower.

The world's second biggest exporter after China posted an uncorrected trade surplus of 13.4 billion euros, down from a revised 16.9 billion euros the previous month.

According to figures provided by the German central bank, the country's current account of the balance of payments -- a broader measure of trade with other countries -- showed a surplus of 11.8 billion euros.

That was slightly below an average analyst forecast of 12 billion euros, and well off the revised March figure of 18.1 billion, but nonetheless the second strongest level so far this year.

The sharp drop in April exports "was the almost natural correction after an exceptionally strong month of March," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said.

"Looking ahead, with strong global demand and the weak euro exchange rate, exports should continue to be the main driver of the German recovery," he added.

Pressure on the euro from major currencies eased Tuesday but the unit remained depressed a day after plunging to a four-year low on deepening fears over Europe's debt woes, dealers said.

The euro changed hands at 1.1962 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade.

© 2010 AFP

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