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Robust German Exports Push Up Trade Surplus

Robust German Exports Push Up Trade SurplusRobust German Exports Push Up Trade Surplus

German exports rose more strongly than expected in May, outpacing a solid increase in imports and widening the trade surplus of Europe’s biggest economy, data showed on Monday.

The surprisingly strong trade figures, released by the Federal Statistics Office, underline how the German economy is firing on all cylinders ahead of a Sept. 24 federal election in which Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term, Reuters reported.

The data will also add fuel to the debate about Germany’s export strength after the International Monetary Fund on Friday repeated its call for Berlin to increase investment as a way to boost imports, support the economic recovery in other countries and reduce its record trade surplus.

Seasonally adjusted exports climbed 1.4%—their fifth consecutive monthly increase—while imports rose 1.2%, the data from the Federal Statistics Office showed.

Demand for German goods from countries outside the EU rose the most, with exports to so-called third countries, which includes China, Japan and the United States, soaring 17.3%, a breakdown of unadjusted trade figures showed.

“The global economy is improving, which has a positive impact on the German export economy,” VP Bank economist Thomas Gitzel said, pointing to especially strong demand for German machinery from markets overseas.

“While private consumption has been an important growth driver in the last few years, net exports are now giving additional stability,” Gitzel added.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus edged up to €20.3 billion ($23.12 billion) from a revised €19.7 billion in April.

Germany’s wider current account surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments, rose to €17.3 billion after a revised €14.9 billion in April, unadjusted data showed.

 

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