Germany: Export and Import Numbers Declined in April 2012

June 13th, 2012
in Background

Econintersect:  There is only one number in the April 2012 balance of trade numbers for Germany that shows effects of the Eurozone crisis:  The balance of German-flagSMALLtrade surplus with the rest of the Eurozone.  According to a report in Finfacts Ireland the balance of trade surplus with the rest of the Eurozone countries shrank to a mere €300 million, only 2 % of the overall surplus of €14.4 billion.  (Note:  The exact numbers can be reviewed in the press release from the Bundesbank, shown later.)  The rest of the trade numbers all seem within normal historic ranges.

Follow up:

How did Germany manage to continue to maintain a large trade surplus?  It was because of a 10.3% increase in exports to the rest of the world outside the EU.  This number is up even more for the first four months of 2012, 11.0% higher year-over-year.

There is perhaps a second area in the data showing for April that might reflect on the economic problems in Europe.  Imports were down from all parts of the world after being up strongly for the first quarter.  This will need to be watched for follow through – it might be a one month anomaly.

The following graph shows the recent export/import data history for Germany.  There is nothing yet indicating problems for Germany from the euro crisis.

Germany-Export-Import-April-2012

The balance of trade number is in the upper half of the range of values recorded recently, although recent numbers are down significantly from highs from before The Great recession.

Here is a summary of the German balance of trade history from Trading Economics:

Germany reported a trade surplus equivalent to 14.4 Billion EUR in April of 2012. Historically, from 1971 until 2012, Germany Balance of Trade averaged 5.5400 Billion EUR reaching an all time high of 20.1000 Billion EUR in June of 2008 and a record low of -0.5000 Billion EUR in January of 1981. German economy is heavily export-oriented (the world's biggest exporter), with exports accounting for more than one-third of national output. Its principal exports are: motor vehicles, machinery, chemical products, electrical devices and telecommunications technology. German’s principal imports are motor vehicles, chemical products, machinery, oil and gas and computers. European Union makes 60 percent of the total trade. Other major partners are: U.S. China and Russia. This page includes a chart with historical data for Germany Balance of Trade.

 

The following is the official press release by Destatis, an agency of the Bundesbank, the German central bank:

German exports in April 2012: +3.4% on April 2011

WIESBADEN – Germany exported commodities to the value of Euro 87.1 billion and imported commodities to the value of Euro 72.7 billion in April 2012. Hence, as further reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on the basis of provisional data, German exports increased by 3.4% and imports decreased by 1.0% in April 2012 on April 2011. Upon calendar and seasonal adjustment, exports decreased by 1.7% and imports by 4.8% compared with March 2012.

The foreign trade balance showed a surplus of Euro 14.4 billion in April 2012. In April 2011, the surplus amounted to Euro 10.8 billion. In calendar and seasonally adjusted terms, the foreign trade balance recorded a surplus of Euro 16.1 billion in April 2012.

According to provisional results of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the current account of the balance of payments showed a surplus of Euro 11.2 billion in April 2012, which included the balance of services (+ Euro 0.7 billion), factor income net (+ Euro 0.9 billion), current transfers (– Euro 2.8 billion), and supplementary trade items (– Euro 1.9 billion). In April 2011, the German current account showed a surplus of Euro 7.5 billion.

In April 2012, Germany dispatched commodities to the value of Euro 50.5 billion to the Member States of the European Union (EU), while it received commodities to the value of Euro 46.3 billion from those countries. Compared with April 2011, dispatches to the EU countries and arrivals from those countries decreased by 1.1% each.

Commodities to the value of Euro 33.1 billion (–3.6%) were dispatched to the Euro area countries in April 2012, while the value of the commodities received from those countries was Euro 32.8 billion (–0.6%). In April 2012, commodities to the value of Euro 17.3 billion (+4.1%) were dispatched to EU countries not belonging to the Euro area, while the value of the commodities which arrived from those countries was Euro 13.5 billion (–2.3%).

Exports of commodities to countries outside the European Union (third countries) amounted to Euro 36.7 billion in April 2012, while imports from those countries totaled Euro 26.5 billion. Compared with April 2011, exports to third countries increased by 10.3% and imports from those countries decreased by 0.7%.

Flows of commodities and services in Euro billion


Item

April

January to
April

March

April

January to
April

 

2012

2011

 

Discrepancies in the totals may occur due to rounding.

 

1   Exports (f.o.b.)

87.1

363.1

98.8

84.3

345.1

 

2   Imports (c.i.f.)

72.7

303.2

81.4

73.4

293.5

 

Balance of

 

3   Foreign trade (1-2)

14.4

59.8

17.4

10.8

51.6

 

4   Services

0.7

0.2

1.4

–0.8

1.1

 

5   Factor income (net)

0.9

16.6

5.9

0.8

13.9

 

6   Current transfers

–2.8

–17.9

–3.5

–1.5

–15.1

 

7   Supplementary trade items

–1.9

–6.4

–1.2

–1.8

–3.6

 

8   Current account (3+4+5+6+7)

11.2

52.3

19.9

7.5

48.0

 

Groups of countries


Item

April

2012

January to
April
2012

Percentage change from

 

April
2011

January to
April
2011

 

Euro billion

in %

 

Discrepancies in the totals may occur due to rounding.

 

Total exports

87.1

363.1

3.4

5.2

 

Including:

 

EU Member States

50.5

211.6

–1.1

1.4

 

Euro area

33.1

140.7

–3.6

–0.1

 

Non-euro area

17.3

70.9

4.1

4.6

 

Third countries

36.7

151.4

10.3

11.0

 

Total imports

72.7

303.2

–1.0

3.3

 

Including:

 

EU Member States

46.3

192.0

–1.1

3.4

 

Euro area

32.8

135.1

–0.6

3.3

 

Non-euro area

13.5

56.9

–2.3

3.7

 

Third countries

26.5

111.3

–0.7

3.1

 

Foreign trade (special trade)
Exports and imports
Original values/calendar and seasonally adjusted values 1


Year

Month

Exports

Imports

 

original value

calendar and seasonally adjusted value 1

original value

calendar and seasonally adjusted value 1

 

value
in
Euro billion

change on the same month of the pre-vious year

in %

value
in
Euro billion

change on previous month

in %

value
in
Euro billion

change on the same month of the pre-vious year

in %

value
in
Euro billion

change on previous month

in %

 

1 Using Census X-12-ARIMA.

 

2011

January

78.6

24.1

83.6

0.2

68.5

24.4

71.5

4.0

 

February

84.1

20.1

85.0

1.7

72.1

27.1

73.4

2.6

 

March

98.2

14.7

89.8

5.6

79.4

14.5

75.2

2.5

 

April

84.3

12.1

86.7

–3.4

73.4

18.1

74.5

–0.9

 

May

92.0

20.8

88.7

2.3

77.4

17.2

76.3

2.4

 

June

88.1

3.3

88.1

–0.6

75.6

6.2

76.2

–0.1

 

July

85.7

5.3

87.2

–1.0

75.3

10.0

76.5

0.5

 

August

85.1

14.4

90.0

3.2

73.5

13.2

76.5

–0.1

 

September

95.0

10.5

90.7

0.7

77.8

12.0

75.8

–0.9

 

October

89.2

3.7

88.2

–2.7

77.9

8.9

75.8

0.1

 

November

94.8

8.2

90.2

2.2

78.9

7.0

75.6

–0.2

 

December

85.0

4.9

87.3

–3.1

72.1

5.4

72.7

–3.9

 

2012

January

86.0

9.3

89.5

2.4

72.8

6.2

74.7

2.8

 

February

91.2

8.5

90.8

1.5

76.3

5.8

76.9

2.9

 

March

98.8

0.6

91.6

0.8

81.4

2.5

77.6

0.9

 

April

87.1

3.4

90.0

–1.7

72.7

–1.0

73.9

–4.8

 

 

>>> Brief methodological description


John Lounsbury

Sources:









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