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German exports bounce back in April from Ukraine war impact

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© Reuters. Cargo ships are loaded at a container terminal in a harbour in Hamburg, Germany, April 27, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) -German exports rose more than forecast in April, as Europe’s biggest economy relied on trade with the United States and the euro area to recover from the initial impact of the war in Ukraine, government data showed on Friday.

Exports rose 4.4% from the previous month, the Federal Statistical Office said, almost three times the 1.5% increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

In March, exports had fallen by 3%.

The boost for Germany’s export-driven economy came despite a collapse in trade with Russia over recent months due to severe sanctions imposed by the West in a bid to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Exports from Germany to Russia dropped 10% in April after plummeting 60% in March, the statistics office said.

Imports also increased more than expected in April, by 3.1%, following a 3.2% rise in March, the statistics office reported.

ING chief economist Carsten Brzeski called the April trade data a “pleasant surprise”.

“German exports have defied renewed supply chain disruptions and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine. At least for now,” he said.

However, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) warned that the upswing could be short-lived.

“The export engine is grinding tremendously,” said DIHK foreign trade chief Volker Treier, adding that the April growth was solely due to price increases in exports, which had actually fallen in real terms.

Supply-chain bottlenecks were yet to come – but with some delay – as a result of China’s weeks-long COVID lockdowns, Treier said.

The DIHK expects German exports to stagnate in 2022 on the whole.

German exports bounce back in April from Ukraine war impact

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