German exports tumbled in July, along with industrial output, but at the same time imports rose though not by a much as forecast.
That underscores how important domestic demand is for growth in Europe’s largest economy.
Global weakness is making it hard for German manufacturers to sell their goods abroad.
Seasonally-adjusted exports dropped by 1.1 percent on the month, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. Economists polled by Reuters had come up with a consensus forecast for a 0.8 percent increase.
Imports, forecast to gain 0.9 percent, rose by a less-than-expected 0.5 percent but an originally reported 0.8 percent fall in June was revised to a deeper 1.0 percent drop.
“It’s a disappointment, but the data have fluctuated a lot in recent months,” said Stefan Schilbe at HSBC Trinkaus.
“But we can be hopeful that the picture will change for the better in coming months. Leading indicators in industrial states – from the United States to Britain and the euro zone states – are pointing upwards.”
Exports between January and July were down 0.5 percent from a year earlier, but the BGA trade body is predicting growth of three percent this year.
Export are traditionally the backbone of the German economy, so domestic demand has been the driver so far this year.