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Economy in Brief

Balance of German Trade in Goods Reached New Peak in March
by Louise Curley May 10, 2005

German exports, seasonally adjusted, rose 2.1%, in March after having declined by almost 3% in February. At the same time imports declined 1.2%. As a result, the balance of trade rose by 2.9 billion euros to 15.1 billion euros, an all time peak. Chart 1 shows Germany's balance of trade in goods.

The improvement in the balance of trade in goods has favorable implications for growth in the economy. Exports have been the one bright spot in the German economy and have accounted for most of what little growth the economy has shown. Imports, of course, affect GDP negatively, and the rising cost of oil has muted the positive influence of exports. Chart 2 shows the effect of rising oil prices over the last year on Germany's imports of crude oil and gas imports. While the imports of crude oil and gas have dropped in the first two months of this year, the price of oil remains a risk to the outlook.

In the table below we show both the seasonally adjusted and the non seasonally adjusted data. Strictly speaking, the percentage change from one period to the next should be calculated on the basis of seasonally adjusted data. In the absence of seasonal adjustments, the most meaningful percentage change is that of one period to the same period in the previous year. In its press release the Federal Statistical Office of Germany reports percentage changes in this manner.

Germany Mar 05 Feb  05 Mar 04 M/M% Y/Y%  2004    2003  2002
Exports (SA Bil Euros) 62.7 61.5 59.0 2.1   725.5 666.9 654.5
Imports (SA Bil Euros) 47.9 48.24 44.62 -1.2   570.3 535.9 520.2
Balance (SA Bil Euros) 15.1 13.2 14.4 1.9   155.2 131.01 134.3
                 
Exports (NSA Bil Euros) 65.3 59.7 64.7   0.9 733.2 664.43 651.32
Imports (NSA Bil Euros) 49.0 46.2 48.1   1.9 577.1 534.5 518.5
Balance (NSA Bil Euros) 16.3 13.5 16.6   -3.0 156.1 130.0 132.8
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