Trade troubles in Germany

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Trade troubles in Germany

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German exports rose in June, but not by as much as expected, and there was a surprise fall in imports

Exports were up by 0.6 percent. The forecast had been for a one percent increase.

Exports, which are Germany’s traditional driver of economic growth, dropped sharply in May.

Imports were worse than expected, with purchases of foreign goods down 0.8 percent from May.

That will disappoint the government which is banking on private consumption to boost growth, retail sales were also weak .. down by their largest amount this year in June.

Europe’s biggest economy only narrowly escaped a recession in the first quarter after a robust performance during the early years of the eurozone crisis.

Strong industrial orders and output data released earlier this week suggest exports may strengthen in the second half, however, and could help offset the disappointing trade figures.

Exports to the eurozone, where Germany sends 40 percent of its goods, were down 1.4 percent in June compared with the same month last year, although exports to non-eurozone members of the EU were up 2.2 percent.

Shipments to countries outside the European Union were down 4.6 percent as emerging economies like China slow, which economists warn could hit Germany hard.