Germany’s exports declined the most in more than two years in February amid fears of trade wars, data showed Monday.
Exports fell unexpectedly by 3.2 percent month-on-month in February, figures from Destatis revealed.
This was the second consecutive decrease and the biggest fall since August 2015, when exports slid 6.1 percent. Shipments were forecast to rise 0.2 percent, reversing January’s 0.4 percent decrease.
At the same time, imports declined 1.3 percent on month after falling 0.2 percent in January. Economists had forecast imports to climb 0.5 percent.
As the decline in exports exceeded the fall in imports, the trade surplus decreased to a seasonally adjusted EUR 19.2 billion from EUR 21.5 billion a month ago.
Year-on-year, exports growth eased to 2.4 percent from 8.6 percent. Similarly, imports grew at a slower pace of 4.7 percent, following January’s 6.9 percent expansion.
On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus fell to EUR 18.4 billion from EUR 19.8 billion in the previous year.
Data showed that the current account surplus totaled EUR 20.7 billion in February compared to a EUR 23.4 billion surplus posted in the same period of 2017.
The entire start to the year 2018 has been a disappointment, Carsten Brzeski, an ING-DiBa economist said. The cold winter weather and a flu epidemic were probably the main drivers of this disappointment.
At least in the near term, sound fundamentals, low interest rates, record high employment, high capacity utilization, low inventories and filled order books are strong arguments in favor of a re-acceleration of the economy, Brzeski added. However, if anything downside risks for the economy have clearly increased in recent weeks, he said.