Germany’s exporters just broke another record: The trade surplus for Europe’s biggest economy is now at its highest on record.
In 2014, Germany exported more than it imports by a bigger margin than ever before.
Exports rose 3.4% in December from November, and imports dipped 0.8%. Here’s how Germany’s recent export history looks, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics:
That left Germany’s trade surplus at €21.8 billion ($US24.71 billion) in December alone, and €18.2 billion per month on average for 2014 as a whole, the highest ever.
This might seem like an undoubtedly good thing for Germany, but it’s actually more complicated. Critics say that Germany’s huge trade surpluses aren’t just a result of being a competitive exporter, but that perpetually weak domestic demand is holding imports down.
And that can be damaging for the eurozone as a bloc, because it makes it doubly difficult for harder-hit countries in southern Europe to re-balance. They would ideally be boosting their exports to Germany, the large economy that was damaged least by the financial and euro crises, but the demand simply isn’t there.
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