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Gains In German Exports

Friday, June 06 08:29:12

German exports rose at their strongest pace in nearly two years in April and industry output also edged higher, signaling a strong start to the second quarter in Europe's largest economy.

Shipments abroad, which have traditionally propelled the German economy, struggled last year and fell in two out of three months in the first quarter.

But data from the Federal Statistics Office on Friday showed that exports rebounded 3.0 percent in April, their biggest increase since May 2012.

Industrial output also climbed in the month, albeit less than forecast, as the traditional spring rebound turned out weaker than usual due to a mild winter.

Data on Thursday had already shown industrial orders surging in April and the German economy ministry said well-filled order books in manufacturing and construction, along with optimism among firms, suggested the upward trend in production would continue.

"The export data signals trade may provide impetus again in the spring," said Stefan Kipar, an economist at BayernLB.

Overall growth is expected to be weaker than at the start of the year due to the weather but the underlying momentum is "absolutely intact" he said.

Germany's economy grew at its fastest rate in three years in the first quarter thanks largely due to an unusually mild winter but it is widely expected to slow in the second.

A breakdown of year-on-year trade data showed demand from European countries rising by 4.1 percent while exports to states outside of Europe dropped by 5.7 percent.

The trade surplus widened to 17.7 billion euros, well above a consensus forecast for 15.2 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to climb by 1.5 percent and imports to increase by 0.6 percent (Reuters)