Thu, May 10, 2012 - Page 10 News List

German exports grow to record level in March

AFP, FRANKFURT and Washington

German exports grew to a record level in March, boosting a trade surplus by 16.8 percent from the February level on strong demand from outside the EU, official data showed yesterday.

Germany’s trade surplus grew to 17.4 billion euros (US$22.6 billion) in March, the figures showed, but exports to the eurozone fell on a 12-month basis.

The German economy, the biggest in Europe, exported goods worth 98.9 billion euros in March, up 8.4 percent from the figure for February and beating the previous record from March last year, the national statistics office Destatis said.

On a 12-month basis, exports to countries outside the EU grew by 6.1 percent to 41.9 billion euros, while exports to countries in the crisis-hit eurozone contracted by 3.6 percent to 38.1 billion euros.

Imports overall were up 6.8 percent at 81.5 billion euros, the office said, with imports from the eurozone up 2.3 percent to 37 billion euros. On Tuesday, official data showed German industrial output rose sharply in March, driven by a strong showing in construction after cold winter weather hit production in February.

Industrial production increased by 2.8 percent from February, providing a sunnier outlook for output in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the IMF on Tuesday said that Germany’s prospects for economic recovery look “favorable,” but urged the country to do more to rebalance European growth and end the continent’s debt crisis.

After talks in Berlin, the IMF issued a statement warning that Germany remains vulnerable to the problems roiling southern Europe, even if its domestic economy was solid.

“The conditions are in place in Germany for a domestic demand-led recovery” after a slowdown late last year, the IMF said.

However, deeper crises in Greece, Spain, Portugal or Ireland “would spill over into Germany directly through real and financial channels,” the fund said.

The IMF said Germany could do more to help address the structural imbalances that have foreshadowed the crisis by deepening its own reforms.

The US-based fund encouraged Germany to seek out more “domestic demand-led growth.”

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