German exports in April surged more than expected after two months of declines. Imports also rose, adding to signs that higher domestic and global demand might help Germany overcome sluggish growth in early 2013.
In April, Germany exported 94.5 billion euros ($125 billion) worth of goods and services, the German Statistics Office, Destatis, said Friday. That constituted a total 1.9 percent higher than in the previous month of March and 8.5 percent more than in April last year.
The rise made up for slumping exports in February and March which had declined by 2.8 and 4.2 percent respectively compared with the same months in 2012, Destatis data showed.
As a result of continuously robust domestic German demand, imports into Europe's largest economy also grew in April, at a rate of 2.2 percent compared with March, to a total monthly volume of 75.4 billion euros.
In April, Germany's foreign trade grew most significantly with countries outside of the European Union which took in 13.6 percent more goods and services than in March. Demand from the recession-hit eurozone was much lower, although it still grew by 4.3 percent.
The rises in both exports and imports outstripped economists' predictions in a poll for Reuters news agency. They are now hoping for an additional boost to sluggish German growth, which in the first quarter of 2013 came in at just 0.1 percent.
Describing the latest trade figures as good news, Commerzbank analyst Ralph Solven told Reuters that the pick-up in exports would likely add momentum to the recovery in Germany.
However, the German central bank on Friday put a slight damper on the optimism as it revised downward its 2013 growth outlook for Germany. Cutting its estimate from 0.4 percent to 0.3 percent this year, the Bundesbank said the weakness in the eurozone would continue to weigh on the German economy. For 2014, the bank also revised its growth forecast, from 1.9 percent previously to 1.5 percent now.
uhe/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)