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German Exports Will Barely Grow Amid U.S. Competition, BGA Says

German exports will barely grow this year amid stronger competition from the U.S. and China, the BGA exporters’ lobby said.

German sales abroad will rise 3 percent, unadjusted for inflation, to 1.13 trillion euros ($1.48 trillion) while imports will increase 1 percent in nominal terms to 918.2 billion euros, the BGA said today in an e-mailed statement.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the U.S., which faces an economic comeback,” BGA president Anton Boerner said in the statement. “They have the expertise, the personnel, raw materials and cheap energy.”

German business confidence fell for a second month in April and exports dropped more than economists forecast in February as the euro area, the country’s biggest trading partner, struggled to emerge from recession. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on April 19 that he hasn’t seen any improvement in economic data in the area after hinting at the beginning of the month he might cut interest rates if the recovery faltered.

“The global economic recovery is slow in coming and will probably also be less dynamic than previously thought,” Boerner said. “The strong growth in foreign trade, to which we had become accustomed in recent years, is gone for now.”

With only moderate impetus from foreign trade, the German economy will grow 0.8 percent at most this year, Boerner said. While Germany is less affected by the euro region’s crisis than its European competitors, its exports “stand on one leg” due to the weakness of the rest of Europe, he said.

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