German exports reach trillion-euro threshold | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 10.01.2012
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German exports reach trillion-euro threshold

Latest statistics suggest German exports breached the 1-trillion euro mark for the first time ever in 2011. Experts say overseas demand was boosted by the relative weakness of the euro.

Containers and cranes in the port of Hamburg

German goods were in higher demand than ever in 2011

German exports from January to November 2011 totaled 976 billion euros ($1,25 trillion), according to the Wiesbaden-based Federal Statistics Office. That's a 12-percent increase over corresponding figures from 2010.

Imports over the same period amounted to 829.8 billion euros ($1.06 trillion), up 13.9 percent on 2010.

German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler said he was happy with the trade surplus. "It's gratifying to see how well German exporters have been faring amid a difficult global economic environment at present," he said.

New record likely

The Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) said German exports almost certainly breached the one-trillion euro ($1.28 trillion) mark for the first time last year.

"This development is rooted in increased trade with both European nations and emerging economies," BGA president Anton Börner said in a statement.

Official data from January through November showed other European Union members bought goods "made in Germany" worth 580.9 billion euros ($742 billion).

Long lines of cars being shipped overseas

German passenger cars have long been an export hit

Exports have always been a key pillar of Germany's economy and have helped the country keep recession at a distance bay over the past two years as the eurozone debt crisis intensifies.

"The [most recent] data show that the demand for German products is amazingly robust," Commerzbank economist Ulrike Rondorf told AFP news agency.

Weak euro, strong exports

The chief economist of the Handelsblatt daily newspaper, Dirk Heilmann, said the weakness of the euro enabled German exporters to go from strength to strength. The common currency has taken a 14-percent dive against the US dollar since reaching a high in May 2011.

"The euro is likely to depreciate further if the economies in the USA and Japan develop more favorably than that in Europe," Heilmann said.

The president of the European Council, Herman von Rompuy, pointed to the positive side effects a weaker euro could have on the single-currency zone.

"We can find new trade opportunities and open up new markets in order to increase demand [for our goods] and boost exports", von Rompuy said after a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in Copenhagen.

"We have to do everything to prevent ourselves from heading into a recession," he added.

Author: Hardy Graupner (AFP, dpa, AP)
Editor: Sam Edmonds

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