Once a mainstay of German economic growth, exports from Europe's biggest economy have again slumped, showing that domestic consumption will remain Germany's engine of growth in the face of sluggish global demand.
According to data released by the German statistics office, Destatis, on Friday, the country shipped 4.1 percent fewer products and services abroad compared with October last year.
Compared with the previous month of September, however, the figure was slightly higher, up 0.5 percent, with an overall volume of trade of 101.5 billion euros ($107.6 billion).
Imports over the year were down 2.2 percent, while they rose on a month-by-month basis by 1.3 percent, to 82.2 billion euros.
The data reinforces a trend of weakening exports from Europe's largest economy, which the German Exporters Association, BGA, described as a "rollercoaster ride" this year.
As a result, Germany's seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed to 20.5 billion euros in October from 21.1 billion euros in September.
Weakening eurozone demand
The countries of the 28-nation European Union took in the bulk of Germany's goods, with exports to the bloc amounting to 59.7 billion euros. Compared with the same month a year ago, this was however a drop by 4.5 percent, showing that demand in other eurozone economies remains weak.
Exports to countries outside the EU also fell, down 3.4 percent and totaling 41.8 billion euros.
However, Germany's faltering trade wasn't expected to pose a major threat to the country's overall growth, the Bundesbank said in a report on Friday, as "lively domestic demand" had become the mainstay of economic expansion.
The German central bank, therefore, upheld its growth forecast of 1.8 percent this year, saying the country's output growth would decrease only marginally in the years ahead, with 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
uhe/jd (Reuters, dpa, AFP)