Hit by Covid-19 crisis, German exports plunge

German exports slumped in April, posting the biggest decline since records began in 1990 as demand dried up during the coronavirus lockdown, news wires reported. Seasonally adjusted exports plunged 24%, far more than expected. The trade surplus shrank to €3.2bn, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to fall by 15.6%.

Facing its deepest recession since World War Two, the big question is how fast Germany’s export-oriented economy can recover with the easing of a shutdown that halted production and stunted retail activity. “Little is left of the last decade’s export boom,” said Alexander Krueger, economist at Bankhaus Lampe. A recovery may have already started due to a loosening of the lockdown and reopening of borders, he added.

The BDI industry association sees exports sliding by about 15% this year and imports by some 12%. Desperate to speed up recovery, the government last week announced a €130bn stimulus package to help boost domestic demand. That comes on top of €750bn worth of measures announced in March. But the government still expects the economy to shrink by 6.3% this year.

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