German exports dipped unexpectedly at the beginning of the year, a sign that Europe's largest economy may be feeling the effects of the global economic slowdown and the strengthening euro.
Exports fell by 0.5 percent on a seasonably adjusted basis in January, following a 0.7 percent decline in December, data from the Federal Statistical Office, Destatis showed on Thursday. At the same time imports increased 1.2 percent on the month.
The dip in exports was largely unexpected - economists had forecast growth of 0.8 percent.
"Weak growth in China is having a knock-on effect. The outlook is also not good in other emerging markets like Russia and Brazil." said Volker Treier, Chief Economist at the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
"In addition the positive effects of the relatively weak euro in recent months are now starting to evaporate."
Overall, Germany's trade surplus - the balance between exports and imports -shrank slightly to 18.8 billion euros in January from 20.3 billion euros in December, dragged down by falling exports.
hch/uhe (AFP, Reuters)