Germany’s trade surplus has narrowed in July due to an unexpected drop in exports, data from the country’s federal statistics office shows.
The data presented on Friday by Destatis revealed that German exports fell by 1.1 percent in July compared to the preceding month while imports were up 0.5 percent. The trade surplus has declined to 16.1 billion euros from 16.9 billion euros, showing that imports grew faster than exports. The July decline came despite forecasts by analysts of a 0.7-percent increase in exports for the month. Destatis also reported that the exports to eurozone countries fell by 0.7 percent in July compared to the same month last year. The country’s economy relies heavily on exports, but domestic consumption recently became an important factor in trade surplus. The German government has forecasted that the country’s exports will negatively affect gross domestic product (GDP) this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has halved its 2013 economic growth forecast for Germany to 0.3 percent. In April, it said the economic growth for 2013 would be 0.6 percent. Germany’s economy weakened in 2012 and is now struggling as it just avoided recession after posting a mere growth of 0.1 percent in first quarter of this year, following a 0.5 percent contraction in final quarter of 2012. The new data comes just weeks ahead of federal elections on September 22 to determine the 598 members of the 18th Bundestag, Germany’s main federal legislative house.