German exports recover further, but far from pre-pandemic levels

 Germany clawed back more of its crucial export business in July following the coronavirus crisis, with 4.7 per cent more goods sold abroad than in the previous month, according to government data.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on Tuesday that the exports, valued at 102.3 billion euros (120.8 billion dollars), was still 11 per cent lower than in July 2019.

German exports plunged earlier in the year after sweeping restrictions were introduced across the globe in an effort to contain the pandemic, disrupting delivery and supply chains, and dealing a severe blow to demand.

However, the country has seen a recovery in recent months, and a surge in exports in June of 14.9 per cent on the previous month even went beyond analysts’ expectations.

But the toll of the crisis is clear when considering data from February 2020, before the virus took a grip of world economies.

Compared to that month, exports from Germany were down by 12.1 per cent in July, Destatis said.

Imports in July were up 1.1 per cent on the previous month, with goods valued at 83.1 billion euros, according to the data.

Year on year, the fall in imports was 11.3 per cent.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted Germany’s trade with partner countries to varying degrees.

Exports to China saw little change in July compared to the same period last year, decreasing by 0.1 per cent, Destatis said.

Meanwhile, imports from China were up 7.4 per cent.

The majority of imported goods in Germany came from China, the government agency added.

There were severe drops in exports to the U.S. and Britain, both of which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, falling by 17 per cent and 12.6 per cent year on year, respectively.

Imports from the U.S. and Britain to Germany decreased in July by 14.8 per cent and 24.8 per cent, respectively.

Despite many of the restrictions introduced to stem the pandemic having been gradually lifted in Europe, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are still very much felt, and regional outbreaks persist.

The VDMA industry body for mechanical engineering said on Tuesday it expects production to plunge by 17 per cent across the whole of 2020.

“Even if there are signs of a slight easing at a low level at the current time, we must expect the weak demand to still have a noticeable impact on production in the second half of the year,” VDMA chief economist Ralph Wiechers said.

In 2021, a modest increase of 2 per cent is forecast.

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