09.02.2017

German Exports record sharpens US relationship

400Germany reported a new record trade surplus in 2016, official data showed Thursday, exporting €253 billion more than it imported.

Europe's biggest economy exported goods worth nearly €1.21 trillion ($1.29 trillion) last year, 1.2% more than in 2015, the Federal Statistical Office said. Imports rose to €954.6 billion, a 0.6% increase.
Both exports and imports broke previous records set in 2015. The statistical office said that Germany's current account surplus climbed to €266 billion from €252.6 billion.

The new high is likely to feed criticisms from the US and elsewhere that Germany exports too much and fails to reinvest the proceeds.

US President Trump, in an interview with tabloid Bild and the Times of London, criticized last month that there are too many German cars out on U.S. streets, but too few U.S. models in Germany. 

His top trade advisor Peter Navarro accused Berlin last month of exploiting a "grossly undervalued" euro to boost its exports.
Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the charge, saying her government had always called on the European Central Bank to pursue an independent monetary policy.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble agreed that "the exchange rate is too low" in an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper last weekend, but argued that was a problem for Germany as much as its customers abroad.

The head of the German exporters' association, Anton Boerner, this week forecast another rise in German exports this year to some €1.235 trillion. But he cautioned that there is a "big question mark" over that prediction in view of a long list of risks that includes Trump's stance on trade.

"Politicians and business in Germany must take President Trump seriously. He only understands tough language," Boerner said. "It must be made clear that Trump will lose a lot more if we lose."


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