German exports have been hit by sluggish demand from many of its most important markets, the national statistics office has reported. The recent drop in shipments abroad is seen as yet another warning signal.
German exports declined by 1.8 percent in May month-on-month, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) announced Friday.
Europe's powerhouse exported goods worth 97.2 billion euros ($107.7 billion), marking the biggest monthly drop since August 2015.
Together with disappointing industrial output and factory orders data earlier this week, analysts said the German economy could be slowing after solid growth in the first quarter.
"The May trade figures mark the end of a disappointing week for German industry," ING Chief Economist Carsten Brzeski said in a statement. "All indicators point towards a slowing economy."
May imports - a measure of domestic demand – egded up by 0.1 percent to 77.4 billion euros, Destatis reported.
That meant that the trade surplus contracted sharply, but also indicated that consumer spending would remain a major pillar of the economy throughout the year.
While exports fell sharply month-on-month, they rose by 1.6 percent in a year-on-year comparison, the statistics office emphasized in its Friday report, prompting economists to jokingly speak of "the rise and fall" of German shipments abroad.
hg/jd (dpa, AFP)