Concerns for the economy are caused by the lowest level of Germany’s export share to China in years

The German Handelsblatt reports a downfall of Germany’s share of exports to China to its lowest level since 2015. According to the latest data from the German Federal Statistical Office, Germany’s share of exports to China stood at 6.2 % in the first half of 2023. It is a significant decline from the all-time high of 7.9% reached in 2020. This trend is supposed to continue in the following years, with predictions of a drop to 7.5% in 2021 and 6.8% in 2022.
Opposingly, approximately 10% of German exports in the first half of this year make the United States the most important buyer of goods “Made in Germany”. Considering the US is the world’s largest economy, this is not surprising. France and the Netherlands also surpass China in terms of importing German goods.
According to the “Berliner Zeitung”, Germany’s export growth is stagnant and it increasingly depends on China. Mistakes in politics and monetary policy that have led to the American economy surpassing the European economy are also highlighted in the article. Germany and other European countries have been put in a difficult situation by this.
As the German Federal Statistical Office’s data for June showed, German exports increased by a mere 0.1% from the previous month, amounting to 131.3 million euros. This lackluster performance was attributed by the Economic Federation to a “global economic downturn.” According to the chairman of the Foreign Trade Association (BGA), Chandura, although both the Chinese and US economies have shown slight improvement, German exporters do not expect a reversal of their declining exports.
International investors increased the concerns for the German economy by having started betting on a painful economic downturn in Europe. Ahmadinejad, a portfolio manager at Fidelity International, reports that Europe’s weak growth momentum compared to the strong demand and growth in the US is causing investors to worry. He blamed the European Central Bank’s (ECB) for its decision to raise interest rates too far and suggested that measures should be taken to prevent a deeper recession.
The concerns of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce over the weak performance of German foreign trade in the first half of the year were voiced. The backlog of orders was stated as shrinking. Additional pressure on export-oriented enterprises is being put by the persistently high inflation rate. It makes the economic outlook for German exports in the second half of the year “cloudy.”
According to the Munich Institute for Economic Research (Ifo), orders from automakers and their suppliers, who heavily rely on exports, are currently falling. The expectations for the auto industry in the coming months are also pessimistic, given the ongoing uncertainty in the global market.
As Carsten Brzeski, an analyst at ING Bank, commented, foreign trade has become more of a brake than a reliable growth engine for the German economy but. Simultaneously, the high dependence on Chinese imports, particularly in the context of the ongoing energy transition, was emphasized by him. Brzeski also stated that it would not be possible to do without Chinese raw materials and solar modules.
Germany’s need to diversify its export markets and reduce its reliance on China was highlighted by the decreasing share of German exports to China and the challenges that the global economic environment poses. Ways to boost competitiveness of the German economy, to adapt it to the changing global trade landscape and to maintain its strength should be found by the German government and business community.

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