2009-06-10 12:47 AM
German exports plunged by 28.7 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, figures released yesterday by the national statistics office showed as German struggled with its worst recession since World War II.
The value of German exports amounted to 63.8 billion euros (US$88.5 billion), the Destatis service said.
Imports decreased meanwhile by 22.9 percent to 54.4 billion euros, leaving Germany, one of the world's leading exporters, with a trade surplus of 9.4 billion euros, it added, slightly higher than analysts forecasts.
Destatis also said that according to figures from the German central bank, the current account showed a surplus of 5.8 billion euros in April, down sharply from 15.4 billion euros a year earlier.
The current account of the balance of payments is the broadest measure of trade with other countries.
Trade data with other European Union members, Germany's principle trading partners showed that exports had decreased by 29.9 percent on the year, while imports were off by 22.3 percent.
Exports to non-EU countries dropped by 26.5 percent and imports shed 23.8 percent, Destatis said.
Germany's export-oriented economy has been slammed by the global economic slowdown and the government estimates that gross domestic product (GDP) will shrink by 6.0 percent this year.
Destatis said that in the four months from January to April, German exports amounted to 262.8 billion euros, down from 341.3 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Figures for industrial production in April were due later yesterday, but the economy ministry said Monday that industrial orders, another key indicator, were stable in April compared with the previous month.
That along with more positive leading indicators have suggested that the worst of the recession could be past.
In the first quarter of 2009, the economy contracted by a whopping 3.8 percent, but the second quarter is expected to show that the rate of decline has slowed.