German exports to China rise by 17.2 pct in August
Germany exported goods worth 8.9 billion euros (8.8 billion U.S. dollars) to China in August, an increase of 17.2 percent year-on-year, according to preliminary figures published by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Wednesday.
China remained Germany’s second most important export partner after the United States, Destatis said.
Total exports to countries outside the European Union (EU) increased by 21.2 percent year-on-year, reaching 59.1 billion euros in August. “This increase in value should also be seen against the background of the sharp rise in foreign trade prices,” Destatis said.
The new figures come at a time when global trade, still recovering from COVID-19, continues to experience container ship congestion. Currently, 12 percent of all goods shipped worldwide are at a standstill, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel) said on Wednesday.
Congestion in the North Sea has increased to more than 2 percent of global cargo capacity. “A standstill of this magnitude is very unusual for the North Sea and puts a strain on the exchange of goods from Germany and the EU, especially with Asia,” said IfW Kiel trade expert Vincent Stamer.
Earlier this week, the world’s largest container ship “EVER ALOT”, built by a subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), called at the port of the northern German city of Hamburg for the first time. The mega-carrier is the first container ship to exceed a capacity of 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), according to the Port of Hamburg.
“Over the past few years, we have prepared the port and the Elbe River to be able to accommodate ships of this size,” said Port of Hamburg marketing chief Axel Mattern on Monday. “This is the only way we will remain competitive in the future.”
In addition to shipping congestion, exploding energy prices are weighing heavily on Germany’s foreign trade. In August, producer prices in Europe’s largest economy rose faster than ever before, by 45.8 percent year-on-year, according to Destatis. Meanwhile, prices for energy doubled.
The ifo Institute said this resulted in deteriorating sentiment among German exporters, despite optimism in the country’s largest sector, the automotive industry.
“A majority of industries expect exports to decline,” ifo president Clemens Fuest said at the end of August, adding that “the mood is particularly bleak” in the chemical industry. (1 euro = 0.99 U.S. dollars)