World Economy

German Economy Firing on All Cylinders

German Economy Firing on All CylindersGerman Economy Firing on All Cylinders

German industrial output surged in February and the trade balance swelled as the engine room of Europe’s largest economy fired on all cylinders to satisfy robust foreign demand that is assuaging angst about rising protectionism.

Industrial output rose by 2.2% on the month, matching January’s expansion rate in what the economy ministry said had been an “extraordinarily” robust first quarter in data released so far. A Reuters poll had pointed to a dip of 0.1% in February.

Seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.8% on the month, while imports fell by 1.6%, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday. A Reuters poll had pointed to exports and imports both dipping by 0.5%.

The upshot of the rise in exports and fall in imports was an expansion in Germany’s trade surplus to €21 billion ($22.37 billion) in February from €18.9 billion in January.

The robust readings are the latest in a batch of strong German economic readouts and will help conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel burnish her economic credentials ahead of a Sept. 24 federal election, when she will seek a fourth term.

Germany’s economy has been firing on all cylinders, with unemployment at its lowest level since reunification in 1990 and growth expanding by its best pace in six years in 2016.

Its trade surplus has been the subject of a number of high profile complaints–most notably from the US economic adviser Peter Navarro who has accused Berlin of exploited a “grossly undervalued” currency to boost its competitiveness.

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