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Economy in Brief

German Trade Rebounds
by Robert Brusca  July 9, 2020

German exports gained sharply in May but not quite as sharply as expected, rising by 9.0% month-to-month. Despite that surge, exports are still declining at accelerating rates from 12-months to six-months to three-months.

Imports also picked up but less robustly, gaining 3.5% month-to-month and also showing a steady decelerating pattern across sequential periods.

The chart shows the dramatic drop off on the German trade surplus as the virus struck. Similarly, the 'revival' in exports and imports is weak. German real orders also are steadily decelerating point to a still difficult outlook.

Real exports and real exports flows that lag one month also show decelerating trends.

The new Baltic dry index backtracked on the day but still retains an upswing. The outlook for global trade is improving, but it is not robust or even really dependable. Just today the BOJ reduced its assessment of conditions for all nine regions. Tokyo is experiencing a pick-up in virus infections as well.

Globally economic data are showing some revival or at least less weakness. While some reports, like PMI indexes, has showed some strong upward movements. The levels of the PMI readings continue to show moderation. The real problem is the new outbreak of virus that has global dimensions. Despite some sharp recovery on some statistics, the revival of the virus promises to blunt the strength of the budding recovery globally. That is the latest challenge to growth. For now, exports are showing some revival. But Germany is extremely export dependent and will need a robust international environment to drive growth. That still seems some way off.

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