German exports unexpectedly rose for a second month in September, helping Europe’s largest economy weather the sovereign-debt crisis.
Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, increased 0.9 percent from August, when they jumped 3.2 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a drop of 0.8 percent, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports fell 0.8 percent from the previous month, when they declined 0.1 percent.
“We’ve had a good third quarter, but now it’s going to slow down,” said Andreas Rees, chief German economist at UniCredit Group in Munich. “It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the crisis will hit German companies, after all Europe remains the largest export partner.”
The debt crisis, which has battered Europe’s economy for two years, is starting to curb company spending as governments struggle to stem contagion and banks grow wary of lending. German factory orders and industrial production slumped in September and European services and manufacturing output contracted more than initially estimated last month.
While Germany’s Bundesbank on Oct. 17 predicted “strong” growth in the third quarter due to a rebound in industrial production and private consumption, it said the outlook had deteriorated.
Some companies have avoided being caught by the fiscal crisis by concentrating on markets outside Europe. Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, said yesterday it has won $900 million of wind turbine orders from Puerto Rico to the U.S. and Canada since July.
Still, Beiersdorf AG, the maker of Nivea skin creams, said Nov. 3 that third-quarter profit fell 25 percent as costs rose and Europeans bought fewer personal-care products. Revenue in Europe, the company’s biggest market and Germany’s biggest export destination, declined 3 percent during the quarter, the Hamburg-based company said.
The trade surplus rose to 17.4 billion euros ($24 billion) from 11.8 billion euros in August. The surplus in the current account, a measure of all trade including services, was 15.7 billion euros, up from 6.5 billion euros.
Germany’s top economic institutes on Oct. 13 predicted growth will slow to 0.8 percent next year from 2.9 percent in 2011.