Ger­man trade sur­plus swells

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

FRANK­FURT AM MAIN: Germany’s trade sur­plus widened in May, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day, just days af­ter a stormy G20 sum­mit that saw clashes with the United States over pro­tec­tion­ism. Ex­ports from Europe’s largest econ­omy grew 1.4 per­cent com­pared with April ad­just­ing for sea­sonal ef­fects, reach­ing 107.9 bil­lion eu­ros ($123.02 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to fed­eral sta­tis­tics of­fice Des­tatis.

With im­ports gain­ing 1.2 per­cent to 87.6 bil­lion eu­ros, Germany’s trade sur­plus-the amount its ex­ports out­weigh its im­ports­grew to 20.3 bil­lion eu­ros in May, com­pared with 19.7 bil­lion in April. Us­ing a year-onyear com­par­i­son, ex­ports were 14.1 per­cent higher than in May 2016. The trade sur­plus reached around 250 bil­lion eu­ros across the full year last year.

The sur­plus is a ma­jor source of ten­sion be­tween Germany and his­tor­i­cally close al­lies in the US and the European Union. Crit­ics ac­cuse Ber­lin of fail­ing to im­port and in­vest enough to al­low other coun­tries to profit in­di­rectly from its suc­cess. Along­side China, Germany has been one of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s most fre­quent tar­gets for com­plaint, fea­tur­ing as a key ar­gu­ment in his “Amer­ica First” trade pol­icy.

For now, “the pro­tec­tion­ist talk of the new US ad­min­is­tra­tion has had no im­pact so far on Ger­man ex­ports to the US,” ING Diba bank an­a­lyst Carsten Brzeski pointed out. Amer­ica ac­counts for al­most nine per­cent of all Ger­man sales abroad, mak­ing Wash­ing­ton a ma­jor rea­son why “the suc­cess of the Ger­man econ­omy is en­dan­gered by po­lit­i­cal risks like never be­fore,” said Joachim Lang, di­rec­tor of the Fed­er­a­tion of Ger­man In­dus­try (BDI).

G20 lead­ers’ joint state­ment on trade signed Satur­day “did not break the dan­ger­ous world­wide trend to­wards pro­tec­tion­ism,” he con­tin­ued. Mean­while, Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion to quit the EU “has clearly left its mark,” Brzeski said, not­ing that Bri­tain was the des­ti­na­tion for just 6.9 per­cent of all Ger­man ex­ports be­tween Jan­uary and March-well be­low the 7.5 per­cent recorded over the whole year in 2015. — AFP

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