Germany Exports Rebound Unexpectedly Boosting Hopes Of Strong Q1 GDP Growth

Germany’s exports rebounded at the fastest pace in three months in March, defying expectations for further decline, and added strength to hopes that the biggest euro area economy performed strongly in the first three months of the year, after narrowly escaping a recession in the previous quarter.

Exports rose 1.5 percent month-on-month in March, after a revised 1.2 percent fall in February, figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Friday. Shipments were expected to decline 0.4 percent.

This was the fastest growth since last December, when export rose 1.5 percent.

Imports grew 0.4 percent monthly, after a 1.6 percent decline in February. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise in imports.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus was EUR 20.0 billion in March.

On an unadjusted basis, trade surplus decreased to EUR 22.7 billion in March from EUR 24.6 billion in the same month of last year. Economists had expected EUR 18.9 billion.

On a year-on-year basis, exports climbed 1.9 percent in March, after a 4.0 percent rise in February.

Imports rose 4.5 percent annually in March, slower than 5.2 percent increase in the previous month.

Shipments to the EU increased 2.5 percent and imports from the group climbed 5.5 percent. Exports to the euro area rose 0.5 percent and imports from the bloc were higher by 5.6 percent.

Exports to non-euro EU countries grew 6 percent and imports from them rose 5.3 percent. Shipments to countries outside the EU rose 1.1 percent and imports from them grew 3.1 percent.

The current account surplus rose to EUR 30.2 billion in March from EUR 29.4 billion in the same period previous year. Economists had forecast EUR 26.0 billion surplus.

Earlier this week, official data showed that industrial production unexpectedly rose for a second straight month, though the rebound in factory orders was less-than-expected.

The purchasing managers’ survey showed that the contraction in the German manufacturing sector eased slightly in April.

The Federal Statistical Office is set to release the preliminary estimates for the first quarter growth on May 15.

Gross domestic product was unchanged in the final three months of 2018, thus the German economy narrowly escaped a technical recession.

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