German Exports Unexpectedly Declined in July, Adding to Slowdown

German exports unexpectedly declined for a second month in July, underscoring signs Europe’s largest economy is losing momentum as the global recovery falters.

Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, fell 1.8 percent from June, when they dropped 1.2 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast an increase of 0.5 percent, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports slipped 0.3 percent from the previous month, when they advanced 0.3 percent.

German growth is slowing as Europe’s debt crisis prompts governments from Spain to Ireland to cut spending, sapping export demand. Factory orders from abroad dropped in July and executives and investors grew more pessimistic last month. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars, said on Sept. 1 that U.S. sales dropped in August.

“Germany just has to get used to a slower pace of growth,” said Alexander Koch, an economist at UniCredit Group in Munich. “We are heading into a soft patch, but I doubt it will result in a recession again.”

The trade balance narrowed to 10.4 billion euros ($14.6 billion) from 12.7 billion euros in June. The surplus in the current account, a measure of all trade including services, was 7.5 billion euros, down from a revised 11.5 billion euros.

German economic growth weakened to 0.1 percent in the second quarter from 1.3 percent in the previous three months as imports exceeded exports and consumers cut spending. In the 17-member euro region, the expansion slowed to 0.2 percent.

ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, on Aug. 12 reported fiscal third-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates, citing slower global demand and “sharply” declining European consumption.

Exports to the 27-member European Union rose 3.9 percent to 49.7 billion euros in July from a year earlier, while sales to the euro region gained 1.9 percent to 33.3 billion euros, today’s report showed. Sales to countries outside the EU increased 5.1 percent to 36.1 billion euros from a year earlier, the statistics office said.

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