German exports in May posted the biggest single-month drop in over three years. The latest trade figures add to the mixed signals about the state of the German as well as the global economy.
Germany's exports in May were down 2.4 percent, slipping to a total volume of 88.2 billion euros ($113 billion), compared with exports worth 94.3 billion euros in April, the Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, reported on Monday.
Year-on-year, Europe's largest economy shipped 4.8 percent fewer goods and services to countries abroad, the Destatis data showed.
The decline over the past year was especially sharp with regard to the 17-nation eurozone which imported 9.6 percent less from Germany than in May 2012.
By comparison, Germany's exports to non-European nations, including the United States and China, fell only by 1.6 percent year-on-year.
Analysts were surprised by the biggest single-month export drop since December 2009, after they had predicted further gains in a poll carried out by the Reuters news agency.
“Today's figures failed to show further consolidation as the state of the eurozone economy remains extremely sluggish and demand from Asia hasn't accelerated,” Newedge Strategy analyst, Annalisa Piazza, told Reuters.
Christian Schulz, economist at Berenberg Bank, told the same news agency that growing demand from the United States wasn't enough to uphold German exports as global trade had failed to pick up.
Schulz also said, however, that a rise in imports by 1.7 percent from April showed that German domestic demand was still robust, supporting economic growth in Europe's largest economy.
uhe/pfd (dpa, AP, AFP)