Exports go down, imports go up

It was not surprising, but the figure was seriously expected: after the first five waves of sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia to stop the invasion of Ukraine, Germany, the first economy in the European Union, but heavily dependent on its Russian neighbor, had to pay The price.

In fact, the collapse exports To Russia (-62%, to 0.9 billion euros in March 2022) affected the total number of German exports (120.6 billion euros) in March, which fell by -3.3% compared to the previous month (February 2022), but increased by +8.1% in one year, Compared with March 2021, the Federal Statistics Office said on Wednesday.

“The Sharp drop in exports at Mars he is the The first indication of the impact of the war on Ukraine “The German and European economy,” ING economist Carsten Brzeski told AFP.

Higher imports (+20.3% y/y) correlated with energy prices

On the other hand, the imports From Europe’s leading economy has not weakened, up + 3.4% Compared to last month and + 20.3% Over one year to reach 117.4 billion euros, especially with higher energy prices.

yes “Import figures show that supply difficulties have not yet reached the German economy.”And “New restrictions in China and continuing problems in supply chains will have important implications for German industry”Economist Carsten Brzeski (ING) explains.

Germany reduced its Russian imports by only 2.4%

Therefore, Berlin pays for its strong dependence on Moscow, especially for Russian gas: before the war against Ukraine, Russia was one of Germany’s distinguished trading partners: 14th for exports and 12th for imports.

But if Germany, due to sanctions, turns off the tap on the export side, then on the import side, it is inappropriate to say that the tap is still almost wide open: imports from Russia actually decreased by only 2.40. % to 3.6 billion euros during the same period.

Germany, the weakest link in Europe

German trade balance contraction

In terms of intra-European trade, The trade balance remains positive Since Germany has Export goods worth 66.6 billion euros for EU member states, while they have imported goods worth 56.7 1 billion euros from these countries in March 2022. In terms of development, compared to February 2022, exports to the European Union by -1.7% while imports Of these countries the rate is -3.0%.

Outside the European Union, for trade with third countries, the Negative balance balance: The exports They fell here too, but with greater force than -5.1% to me 54 billion euro while imports jump from + 10% to me 60.7 billion.

China, Germany’s other Achilles heel

Here we see the impact of the zero-Covid policy in force again in China that caused a drop in German exports, as China is now one of Germany’s largest trading partners.

In addition to Russia, Germany is sounding the alarm about its economic dependence on China

In March 2022, Most of the imports into Germany came from the People’s Republic of China, Destatis explains. Goods worth 16.3 billion euros were imported, with an increase of + 15.8% compared to the previous monthAfter the calendar and seasonal correction.

However, according to figures from Destatis, exports of the People’s Republic of China decrease by 4.3% to 9.1 billion euros and exports to the United Kingdom by 3.9% to 5.5 billion euros.

As a reminder, exports from Germany to China have almost tripled in just over ten years, under Angela Merkel: while in 2009, China was the eighth importer of German products, with purchases of 36.5 billion euros, in 2022 it became. Germany’s second largest customer with €104 billion worth of goods was purchased.

Also, as a reminder, in its own PMI Composite published on Friday, April 22 (based on data collected from April 8 to 22), S&P Global indicated that Germany’s growth rate fell to its lowest level in three months. Direct cause: A drop in production was seen in the manufacturing industry, the first since June 2020. This is despite the good performance of the services sector.

In its May 2 note, Standard & Poor’s Global revised its April figures, noting that for the eurozone as a whole, the final eurozone manufacturing PMI came in at 55.5. (March: 56.5), which marks a 15-month low.

The ranking of countries by level of manufacturing PMI showed in particular that Germany was 54.6 (Flash: 54.1), the lowest level in 20 months, surpassing other major member countries.

“In Germany in particular, the data highlights a return to a decline in new orders and production for the first time since June 2020.”

In this month of March 2022, foreign trade balance It recorded a surplus of +3.2 billion euros in March 2022, compared to the calendar and seasonal balance, of which the adjusted surplus was + 11.1 billion euros in February 2022 Based on + 14.0 billion euros in March 2021.

(with AFP, destatis)


Appendix Statistical Figures

Exports (calendar and seasonally adjusted) March 2022

  • 120.6 billion euros
  • -3.3% from the previous month
  • + 8.1% over the same month of the previous year

Imports (calendar and seasonally adjusted) March 2022

  • €117.4 billion
  • + 3.4% from the previous month
  • + 20.3% compared to the same month of the previous year

External Trade Balance (calendar and seasonally adjusted), March 2022