Germany’s Trade Slump: Recession Warnings Amid Falling Exports and Imports


  • Germany’s exports to EU and non-EU nations fell by 5.5% and 3.5% respectively compared to the earlier month.
  • The import rate dropped by 6.7% in sharp contrast to the predicted decline of just 1.5%.
  • Experts warn that these numbers hint at an imminent recession due to challenging economic conditions in Germany.
  • Despite a rise in Germany’s trade surplus, the GDP shrunk by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2023.
  • German exports and imports at the end of 2023 were 1.4% and 9.7% less than the previous year respectively.

A Slump in German Exports and Imports

The previous month witnessed a significant 5.5% drop in exports to EU countries while there was a 3.5% reduction in exports to non-EU territories, according to official reports. Imports from November also showed a steep decline of 6.7% against an anticipated 1.5% fall.

“These numbers are indicative of a looming recession, reflecting the tough economic conditions prevailing in Germany,” according to Claus Vistesen from Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Germany’s Trade Surplus and GDP in Q4

December saw a calendar-adjusted and seasonally adjusted surplus of 22.2 billion euros ($23.92 billion) in foreign trade balance, compared to the previous month’s surplus of 20.8 billion euros.

In stark contrast, the Gross Domestic Product contracted by 0.3% in Q4 relative to the preceding quarter, thus raising recession alarms among economists.

State of German Exports in 2023

Exports in 2023 were 1.4% lower compared to 2022, whereas the fall of imports into Germany was even steeper at 9.7%.

Challenges for Export Sector and Manufacturing

The weak global economy poses new challenges, especially with the onset of tensions in the Red Sea leading to more trade risks. A further strain on the export industry is the slump in the Ifo export expectations index, falling to minus 8.4 points in January from minus 7.1 points in December.

On the manufacturing front, in January, 36.9% of companies reported a shortage of orders, a significant increase from October’s 36.0%.

German Economic Slowdown

Gloomy assessment of the economic slowdown situation in Germany can also be seen from Vodafone’s statement. Its service revenue growth in Germany slowed dramatically to 0.3% in Q3 after its largest market witnessed growth three months prior.

The challenges in Germany’s economic scenario, coupled with its impact on exports and imports, can significantly influence forex or trading markets. A drop in trade surplus and an economic slowdown may depress the Euro’s value, thereby affecting forex trading dynamics within and beyond the EU.

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