Germany's exports hit a record high in 2012 with shipments expanding in six months, despite demand from the currency bloc undergoing a downturn.
Exports climbed 3.4 percent to a record EUR 1.09 trillion in 2012 and imports grew 0.7 percent to EUR 909.2 billion, the Federal Statistical Office said Friday.
The trade balance showed a surplus of EUR 188.1 billion, which was the second largest since the introduction of foreign trade statistics in 1950, it said. The figure increased from November's surplus of EUR 158.7 billion.
The current account surplus came in at EUR 166.9 billion in 2012, up from EUR 147.2 billion in 2011.
In December, exports rose only 0.3 percent from a month ago. The growth reversed November's 2.2 percent drop, but was slower than the 1.4 percent rise forecast by economists.
At the same time, imports fell 1.3 percent, following a 3.8 percent drop in November. However, arrivals were forecast to grow 1.6 percent in December.
Despite a slight increase in exports, the trade surplus fell more-than-expected to EUR 12 billion from EUR 16.9 billion in the prior month. The expected level for December was EUR 15 billion.
On a yearly basis, exports plunged 6.9 percent and imports slipped 7.3 percent in December. Exports to euro area fell 2.1 percent in 2012, while demand from EU countries not belonging to the euro area grew 3.3 percent.
At the same time, imports from Eurozone gained 0.7 percent and that from EU, excluding euro area climbed 1.4 percent.
Official data revealed that German manufacturing orders advanced in December primarily due to a marked growth in demand from the euro area.
Underscoring the improvement in the German economy in the beginning of 2013, the latest purchasing managers' survey by Markit Economics showed that private sector activity increased at the fastest rate in nineteen months in January, with both the manufacturing sector and the service sector posting notable gains in production.
The German economy is estimated to have contracted 0.5 percent in the final quarter of 2012. Both the government and the central bank forecast 0.4 percent GDP expansion for 2013 after 0.7 percent growth in 2012.
by RTT Staff Writer
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