Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Exports from Germany, Europe’s largest economy, rose for the first time in three months in August, defying a slowdown of global trade.
Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, surged 3.5 percent from July, when they dropped 1.2 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. That’s the steepest increase since March. Economists forecast a 1.1 percent gain, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports were unchanged from the previous month, when they rose 0.5 percent.
The Bundesbank last month predicted “robust” growth in the third quarter, even as a slowing global economy and the euro area’s debt crisis damp demand for goods made in Germany. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said last week that growth in the 17-nation currency bloc, Germany’s largest export market, would be “very moderate” in the second half of the year.
“If the debt crisis doesn’t escalate, Germany may outperform the rest of the euro area,” said Aline Schuiling, an economist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam. “At the same time, most European countries are tightening fiscal policy, and that will weigh on demand.”
The trade balance widened to 11.8 billion euros ($15.9 billion) from 10.5 billion euros in July. The surplus in the current account, a measure of all trade including services, was 7 billion euros, down from 7.8 billion euros.
German economic growth weakened to 0.1 percent in the second quarter from 1.3 percent in the previous three months as imports exceeded exports and consumers cut spending. In the euro region, expansion slowed to 0.2 percent. German industrial production and factory orders both fell in August.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Oct. 3 that it expects its cargo business to be weaker in coming months amid weaker global trade. Still, Daimler AG, the world’s largest maker of heavy- duty vehicles, said demand for Mercedes-Benz trucks hasn’t shown signs of being damped by slowing economic growth.
“In spite of the debt crisis, we have good reason to be optimistic,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in a speech on Sept. 30. Mercedes-Benz truck plants will be working at full capacity through the end of this year and have “a good level” of orders for the first quarter, he said.
--With assistance from Alex Webb, Ragnhild Kjetland and Jana Randow in Frankfurt. Editors: Matthew Brockett, Jones Hayden
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