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Germany's exports, imports hit record high in 2017
Last Updated: 2018-02-09 16:09 | Xinhua
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German exports and imports reached record highs last year, preliminary figures published on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office show.

Total exports from Germany were worth 1,279.4 billion euros (1,569.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, according to the Wiesbaden-based government statisticians, marking an annual increase of 6.3 percent. Imports rose even more by 8.3 percent to a total of 1,034.6 billion euros during the same period, causing the country's frequently-criticized trade surplus versus the rest of the world to decline to 244.9 billion euros.

As a result, 2017 was the first time since 2009 that the German trade surplus shrunk.

After posting another record surplus of 248.9 billion euros in 2016, Berlin became the target of heavy criticism by the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) and U.S. president Donald Trump, both accused long-standing German exporting prowess of contributing to imbalances in the global economy.

Ron van het Hof, director of the credit insurer Euler Hermes, told press Thursday that the resilience of German exports could be attributed to their diversity and competitiveness.

"Whenever it comes to high-end products, German products are in demand. This holds true for German Know-How in engineering, chemicals and automobiles", van het Hof said. He added that an important role was also played by small- and mid-sized firms (SMEs), many of which had achieved "global market leadership" in their respective niche industries.

At least in absolute terms, the German Federation of Foreign and Wholesale Trade (BGA) expects German exports to break another record again in 2018. The BGA predicts annual growth of five percent for the coming year to a total of 1,340 billion euros.

Similarly, Joachim Lang, director of the Confederation of Germany Industry (BDI), expressed confidence that the upward trend for German exports would last throughout 2018. "Global demand for German products will remain strong and support production in the German industry," a statement by Lang read.

Continued robust growth in the Eurozone in particular would support this trend. Recent data showed that gross domestic product (GDP) in the members of the single currency area grew by a healthy 2.5 percent in 2017. The Eurozone is the most important market for German goods.

A survey by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) also indicates that German business leaders largely share such optimism with regards to their exports, "mainly due to the positive economic development in Europe."

Nevertheless, BGA president Holger Bingmann also warned that growing protectionism posed a risk to German exports in 2018.

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