German exports slip for first time in 15 months – stats office

Containers are seen at a terminal in the port of Hamburg
FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen at a terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

October 8, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – The volume of German exports fell in August for the first time in 15 months, slipping unexpectedly as the supply chain issues plaguing the global economy continued to bite in Europe’s largest economy.

Seasonally adjusted exports from Germany’s largest economy slipped month-on-month to 113 billion euros ($130 billion), a 1.2% decline, compared to the 0.5% increase economists had expected.

Imports jumped 3.5% to 100.1 billion euros, almost twice the growth rate forecast, the Statistics Office said on Friday.

The hiccup follows a string of economic indicators showing the impact supply chain-driven inflationary pressures are having on exporters.

German industrial orders fell more than expected in August on weaker demand from abroad following two months of unusually strong gains due to major contracts.

Shortages of intermediate goods like semiconductors and some raw materials have held back many sectors, especially Germany’s crucial car industry.

Compared to the year before, when the world economy was deep in the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, trade staged a strong recovery, with exports to the United States up 22.4% and those to China up 4.4%.

The German Chambers of Commerce recently increased its export forecast for 2021, predicting German firms would sell 8% more abroad in 2021.

The headline numbers masked large regional differences: exports to Britain, which has been outside the European Union’s single market since January, fell 15.1% compared to last year, while imports from there fell 7.9%. Trade with EU countries and third countries grew strongly on a year-on-year basis.

($1 = 0.8662 euros)

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan)