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German exports in 2018 up 3 pct to all-time record
Last Updated: 2019-02-09 10:04 | Xinhua
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German exports rose by 3 percent to an all-time record of nearly 1.32 trillion euros (1.49 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, preliminary results published by the German Federal Statistical Office (destatis) on Friday show.

The increase of German exports at 3 percent was "higher than we had expected," commented Klaus Wohlrabe, economic expert at the Munich-based ifo Institute.

However, growth in German exports slowed down at the end of 2018. In December, Germany exported goods worth 96.1 billion euros (109.06 billion dollars), a decline of 4.5 percent compared to the same month the year before.

"The rising economic uncertainty, such as trade disputes or the Brexit, is making life difficult for the export-oriented German economy," commented Ilja Nothnagel, member of the management board of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).

Trade relations with "traditionally important foreign markets such as the USA or Great Britain are currently being put to a tough test", emphasized Nothnagel.

Imports of goods to Germany grew even faster and went up by 5.7 percent to 1.09 trillion euros (1.24 trillion dollars). Germany's foreign trade balance thus fell by almost 10 percent to a surplus of 227.8 billion euros (258.52 billion dollars) in 2018. In 2017, Germany had generated a surplus of 247.9 billion euros.

"Even though the figures for the previous year were exceeded, the growth rates of 2017 could not be achieved. Here you can see that the international crises and the economic slowdown are leaving their mark behind," said Holger Bingmann, president of the German wholesale, foreign trade and services association (BGA) in Berlin on Friday.

The majority of exported goods went to other member states of the European Union, which imported goods and services from Germany worth 778.7 billion euros (883.71 billion dollars). Most German imports also originated from these countries with a total value of 623 billion euros (707.01 billion dollars).

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