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German exports tick up in October on China rebound

09 December 2020, MVT 21:33
In July alone, Germany reportedly shipped goods abroad worth 102.3 billion euros ($102.9 billion) and imported goods worth 83.1 billion euros. PHOTO: AFP
09 December 2020, MVT 21:33

Germany's exports rose for the sixth straight month in October, albeit at a slower pace, official data showed Wednesday, with China's demand up from 2019 levels while that of the EU and the US stayed negative.

Exports ticked up 0.8 percent month-on-month after a 2.3 percent rise in September, federal statistics agency Destatis said in seasonally-adjusted figures.

Imports also increased slightly, by 0.3 percent.

Germany shipped goods abroad worth 112 billion euros ($136 billion) and imported goods worth 92.7 billion euros.

Six months of rising exports have followed a plunge in activity in March and April, when Germany ordered factories and businesses shut to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's international trade is still short of its pre-crisis level, with exports 6.8 percent lower than February 2020 and imports down 5.2 percent.

October's exports also lag 6.5 percent behind the figure for the same month last year.

But trade data continues to reflect how other countries are dealing with the pandemic.

Exports to China rose 0.3 percent year-on-year, while exports to the United States, which remained in the grip of record-high case rates, were down 10.5 percent. Exports to Britain declined 11.7 percent year-on-year.

Compared to October 2019, exports to the European Union, Germany's largest market, fell 5.1 percent and imports were down 2.9 percent.

The German economy strongly rebounded in the third quarter -- growing 8.5 percent after contracting 9.8 percent in the spring.

But with coronavirus infections staying high, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday demanded tougher curbs including new shop closures to battle the pandemic into January. If the measures are implemented by the regional leaders of Germany's 16 states, domestic demand could once again be hit.

"Despite the October slowing, the export sector remains one of the few hopes of the German economy to avoid a significant contraction in the fourth quarter," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.

Frankfurt am Main, Germany | AFP

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