Germany’s trade surplus will grow 10 percent to 174 billion euros ($220 billion) this year even as sales to southern Europe shrink as a result of the region’s debt crisis, the Berlin-based BGA trade lobby said today.
Sales to Greece fell 9 percent in the first six months while deliveries to Italy dropped 8 percent and exports to Portugal declined 14 percent, the BGA said. At the same time, sales to China grew 9 percent, exports to the U.S. surged 19 percent and deliveries to Russia rose 15 percent, it said.
“In the first three quarters, growth in East Asian countries and also in business with the U.S. more than offset the losses especially in the southern European markets,” the BGA, which represents 120,000 companies, said in a statement. “However, this has changed toward the end of the year.”
German exports fell the most in nine months in September, adding to signs that the sovereign-debt crisis is finally taking its toll on Europe’s largest economy. The economy may shrink in the fourth quarter, the Bundesbank has said.
While global trade will probably accelerate next year, German import growth of 5.5 percent will outpace an expansion of exports of 5 percent, the BGA said. Its forecast rests on the assumption that protectionism can be contained, it said.
BGA President Anton Boerner said he’s worried about growing protectionism around the world, including in Europe, which threatens to lead to a “re-nationalization” and “marginalization” of the continent.
“These deeply chauvinistic tendencies are completely unacceptable,” Boerner said. “These countries not only harm themselves, but also everyone else.”