Exports from Europe's largest economy have taken a hit as some of Germany's top overseas clients struggle with slower growth and weak commodity prices. Overall, however, the German economy is still going strong.
Trade in Europe's largest economy fared worse than expected in October, the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) in Frankfurt reported on Wednesday, as some of its key trading partners continue to be plagued by economic difficulties.
German exports fell in October compared to the previous month by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent to 99 billion euros ($108 billion), compared with a solid 2.6-percent gain in September compared to August, the statisticians said.
Imports suffered an even greater drop, plunging 3.8 percent to 78.3 billion euros from a month earlier. Analysts had predicted only a 0.6-percent decline in October exports and a 1-percent fall in imports.
These numbers mean that the nation's trade surplus - the balance between exports and imports - grew to 20.7 billion euros, from 19.2 billion euros in September, according to Destatis.
The downswing was mainly caused by weak demand in the world's second-largest economy, China, which is experiencing its slowest rate of economic growth in years. The recession in Brazil and Russia - which has been severely hit by western sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine and by very low oil prices - also added to the pain.
On the bright side, year-on-year data suggested Germany's economy is still going strong. Overall exports grew by 3.3 percent compared with the same period last year, with exports to the EU increasing a full 6.4 percent, while imports gained 3 percent.
pad/nz (AFP, dpa)