Strongest slump in exports since the financial crisis

Border closings and supply chain interruptions caused German exports to collapse by 9.3 percent in 2020. But the export is working its way out of the Corona low. He continued his recovery in December.

Fewer containers were handled in the Port of Hamburg this year.

Dhe Corona crisis tore deep holes in the German export balance last year. The export of goods fell by 9.3 percent compared to 2019 to 1204.7 billion euros, as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Tuesday in Wiesbaden. It was the sharpest decline since the global financial crisis in 2009. At that time, exports had fallen by 18.4 percent. The import volume decreased in the past year by 7.1 percent to 1,025.6 billion euros.

Temporary border closings, disruptions in logistics and interruptions in supply chains at the beginning of the corona pandemic in spring 2020 had significantly slowed the export business. Foreign trade then gradually worked its way out of the Corona low. But it wasn’t enough to compensate for the slump.

For this year, the foreign trade association BGA recently expected a significant plus. The pre-crisis level should therefore be reached again by summer 2022 at the latest.

Above all, the increased demand from China recently pushed the business of German exporters. The second largest economy in the world, which is an important sales market for goods “Made in Germany”, grew last year despite the stresses caused by the pandemic.

Despite the second lockdown in many countries, the recovery continued towards the end of the year. In December, exports rose slightly compared to the previous month by 0.1 percent to 100.7 billion euros. Compared to the same month last year, they increased by 2.7 percent.

In January, the mood among German exporters even brightened significantly. The Ifo export expectations of the industry rose in January from 1.9 points to 6.0 points. That was the best value since October. Among other things, a robust industrial economy and the global vaccination start led to cautious optimism.

While industrial production collapsed in the first corona wave, work in most companies continued in the second wave. The borders remained open to trade. In addition to private consumption, exports are an important pillar of the German economy.