German exports recorded their largest month-on-month decline since the 2009 financial crisis, in a sign that Europe's economic powerhouse is facing growing risks from weakening demand from abroad.
Data from Germany's Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, showed seasonally-adjusted exports dropping by 5.2 percent to 88 billion euros ($99 billion), compared to that in July. At the same time, imports tumbled by 3.1 percent to 72.8 billion euros, and the country's trade surplus narrowed to 19.6 billion euros.
However, compared with August 2014, German exports increased by 5.0 percent and imports by 4.0 percent.
The data follows sharp declines in factory orders and industrial production in August.
Economists said the data appeared to have been weighed down by the large number of holidays in August this year.
Risks to exports
However, the economy faces significant risks in the form of a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly in China.
In addition, the diesel emissions scandal engulfing Germany's biggest carmaker Volkswagen could damage the country's biggest export industry and tarnish the "Made in Germany" image.
Germany's auto industry accounts for roughly one in five jobs. It accounted for 17.9 percent of Germany's 1.1 trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) in exported goods last year, according to Deutsche Bank, and has enjoyed above-average export growth since.
sri/uhe (Reuters, Destatis)