German exports completely missed expectations on Wednesday, arguing against the case for German export-led growth.
Analysts are having a hard time explaining what happened:
German exports unexpectedly fell by 6.3 per cent in January from the previous month, according to data released on Wednesday that run counter to economists’ forecasts of an export-led recovery.
Simon Junker, an economist at Commerzbank, said: “I can’t say exactly what happened there. I’m surprised that the figures are so bad. Domestic demand seems to be good if imports rose so strongly. That’s the only positive element that can be drawn from the data.”
Stefan Bielmeier, an economist at Deutsche Bank, said exports must have been hit by extraordinary factors in January. “The figures don’t fit in with the picture generated by other economic indicators. The purchasing managers’ index and Ifo survey had indicated a recovery in export industries,” he said.
Maybe it’s just a fluke. Or maybe a weaker euro, caused by debt concerns in weaker European nations, wouldn’t be so bad after all.