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German Trade Regains Momentum With Forecast-beating Export Growth


Germany's external trade rebounded markedly in May with exports growing significantly faster than forecast, mainly supported by demand from countries outside the European Union.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said Monday that exports grew 3.9 percent month-on-month in May, reversing a 1.7 percent decline in April.

Economists had expected only a 0.2 percent rise in shipments. A higher growth rate was previously reported in March 2011.

Imports also recovered strongly reflecting improved domestic demand. Arrivals climbed 6.3 percent on a monthly basis compared to expectations for a 0.8 percent rise. This followed a 4.9 percent slump in April.

Year-on-year, total exports rose 0.5 percent in May, while imports fell 0.2 percent. Germany exported commodities worth EUR 92.5 billion during the month and imported commodities totaling EUR 77.2 billion.

The trade surplus rose to EUR 15.3 billion in May from a revised EUR 14.5 billion surplus in April. Economists were looking for a smaller surplus of EUR 14.1 billion. A year ago, the balance was in a surplus of EUR 14.6 billion.

In calendar and seasonally adjusted terms, the foreign trade balance recorded a surplus of EUR 15 billion.

Germany's exports to countries outside the European Union amounted to EUR 38.9 billion in May, up 3.4 percent year-on-year. Exports to EU countries decreased 1.5 percent annually and those to euro area fell 2.3 percent.

The statistical office also reported that the current account balance was in a surplus of EUR 9 billion in May compared to EUR 7.4 billion a year ago. This was forecast to rise to EUR 10.2 billion.

Government data released last week showed that factory orders recovered in May led by higher external demand. Industrial production also showed a strong rebound during the month.

The Ifo Institute last month upped its forecast for 2012 economic growth to 0.7 percent. In 2013, the gross domestic product is expected to grow 1.3 percent, buoyed by strong domestic demand.

However, the think tank observed that the increased uncertainty in Eurozone continued to dampen German economic momentum.

Unlike the official data, the latest Purchasing Managers' survey by Markit Economics revealed that Germany's private sector output recorded the steepest contraction in three years in June.

The latest rebound in German indicators is unlikely to last long with demand set to weaken in coming months amid slowing global growth.

The International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said last week that the lender will trim its forecast for global growth this year in its latest report due next week.

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