German trade surplus declined in May due to an unexpected sharp decline in exports, together with faster growth in imports, data published by Destatis showed Monday.
Mirroring weak global demand, exports dropped 2.4 percent month-on-month, confounding expectations for a 0.1 percent rise. This reversed the 1.4 percent increase in April.
Meanwhile, imports grew at a faster pace of 1.7 percent after rising 1.2 percent a month ago. Imports were forecast to remain flat in May.
Due to the fall in exports, the trade surplus fell to EUR 13.1 billion from EUR 18 billion in April. Economists had expected a more modest decline in surplus to EUR 17.6 billion.
At the same time, the current account surplus decreased to EUR 11.2 billion from EUR 16.7 billion in April.
Dispatches to the EU countries decreased 7.1 year-over-year percent and arrivals from those countries by 0.7 percent. Shipments to the euro area dropped 9.6 percent and goods received from Eurozone dropped by 0.5 percent.
Exports to countries outside the EU decreased 1.6 percent and imports from those countries fell 5.9 percent.
Today's disappointing trade data show that the Eurozone's economic engine is still stuttering, ING Bank NV's economist Carsten Brzeski said.
Nevertheless, the firm still thinks that at the end of a weather and holiday driven rollercoaster ride, the German economy should finally return to full strength in June.
The central bank expects the economy to pick up strongly in the second quarter, but sees a slowdown in the momentum over the summer. Bundesbank forecast 0.3 percent growth this year, before accelerating to 1.5 percent in 2014.
by RTT Staff Writer
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