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German Exports to Non-eu Countries Fall 2.3 Pct in May

German exports to countries outside the European Union (EU) continued to fall in May, declining 2.3 percent year-on-year to 59.1 billion euros (65 billion U.S. dollars), according to provisional data published by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Thursday.

Exports to China, Germany’s largest trade partner, declined by 4.3 percent year-on-year to 8.8 billion euros. At the same time, exports to the United States dropped 7.1 percent to 12.5 billion euros, according to Destatis.

The situation is unlikely to improve soon. A “gloomy picture is emerging” for Germany as well as the whole EU, according to the June trade indicator by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).

“Since the U.S. is the most important customer country for German exporters, the current economic weakness in the U.S. could dampen German exports there,” said IfW Kiel trade expert Vincent Stamer on Tuesday.

IfW Kiel expects both imports and exports of Germany, the EU, and the United States to fall in June, as global trade volumes are shrinking. The only exception to the negative trend is China, with a predicted four percent rise in exports.

In the first quarter of 2023, China had a surplus of 16.5 billion euros in trade with Germany, as the country has become a crucial supplier of many products, as well as raw materials such as rare earths. In the first three months, Germany imported 86.0 percent of its portable computers, and 67.8 percent of its smartphones and phones from China, according to official figures. 

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