German exports to southern Europe plunged in the first quarter as austerity measures in nations hit by the sovereign debt crisis curbed demand.
Exports to Portugal slumped 14 percent from a year earlier, while sales to Greece sank 9.8 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said in a statement today. Spain bought 7.8 percent less from Germany, and Italian orders dropped 7.6 percent.
Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are all in recession as their governments cut spending in an effort to regain investor confidence. Germany has turned to faster-growing markets outside Europe to compensate. Overall, its exports rose 5.8 percent in the first quarter from the same period in 2011, today’s report showed.
Sales to countries outside the 27-nation European Union jumped 11.2 percent, with exports to the U.S. surging 21.4 percent. Germany sold 18.4 percent more to Japan, 17.5 percent more to Russia and 6.1 percent more to China in the period.
Exports to neighboring euro-area nations France and the Netherlands rose 6.7 percent and 9.6 percent respectively, while those to the U.K. increased 8.2 percent.
Total German imports rose 4.7 percent in the first quarter from the first three months in 2011.
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