German trade surplus unexpectedly increased in June as imports declined at a pace double than that of exports, indicating that the sovereign debt crisis and the economic slowdown has dampened both domestic and foreign demand.
Exports fell 1.5 percent month-on-month on a calendar-and-seasonally adjusted basis, the Federal Statistical Office showed Wednesday. This was faster than economists' forecast for a 1.3 percent drop.
The decline came after a 4.2 percent gain in May, which was revised from a 3.9 percent increase reported earlier.
Imports fell 3 percent month-on-month following a 6.2 percent rise in the preceding month. The May growth rate was revised from the previously reported 6.3 percent.
Trade surplus for June was EUR 17.9 billion compared to expectations of EUR 14.6 billion. The surplus figure grew from EUR 15.6 billion in May and EUR 12.5 billion in June last year. In calendar and seasonally adjusted terms, the balance was in a surplus of EUR 16.2 billion.
Economic growth is likely to have eased 'somewhat' in the second quarter after recording a strong 0.5 percent growth in the first quarter, the Finance Ministry said last month.
Factory orders data released Tuesday added to signs of weakness in German economy. Orders fell 1.7 percent from previous month in June reflecting deterioration in both domestic and foreign orders.
Private sector activity contracted in July due to a sharp decline in manufacturing production, according to the recent Purchasing Managers' survey. The industrial production data due later today is expected to show a month-on-month decline of 0.8 percent in June.
The current account surplus jumped to EUR 16.5 billion in June from EUR 8.1 billion in May, the statistical office said. Economists had expected the surplus to be EUR 11.9 billion in June. A year ago, the surplus was EUR 11 billion.
On an annual basis, total exports rose 7.4 percent, but imports dropped 1.4 percent. Both exports and imports to euro area countries fell 3 percent and 2.8 percent compared to last year.
There was a sharp 19.8 percent jump in exports to countries outside the European Union, while imports from these countries also improved.
by RTT Staff Writer
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