Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- German exports rose in August amid signs the economic recovery is continuing in the euro area, the country’s biggest trading partner.
Exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, increased 1 percent from July, when they decreased a revised 0.8 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a gain of 1.1 percent, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports rose 0.4 percent from July.
Unemployment in the 17-nation euro area has fallen from a record and retail sales climbed more than forecast in August. While the currency bloc’s recovery from its longest-ever recession is helping to support growth in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, headwinds such as the U.S. government shutdown remain.
“Germany is still strong and expanding,” said Anatoli Annenkov, senior economist at Societe Generale SA in London. “Growth slowed in the third quarter and the political debate in the U.S. poses some risks to Germany as an export-oriented nation, but I don’t think the impact will be significant unless the shutdown continues for an extended period.”
Germany’s trade surplus narrowed to 13.1 billion euros ($17.8 billion) in August from 16.2 billion euros in July, today’s report showed. The surplus in the current account, a measure of all trade including services, was 9.4 billion euros, down from 14.2 billion euros.
The nation’s consumer confidence is at the highest level since September 2007 and investor sentiment rose to a three-year high in September, according to separate surveys by Nuremberg-based GfK SE and the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. The jobless rate of 6.9 percent is near a two-decade low.
Unemployment in the euro area dropped to 12 percent in July from a record 12.1 percent the prior month. The rate held at that level in August and retail sales climbed 0.7 percent.
While the region’s gross domestic product expanded 0.3 percent in the three months through June after six quarterly contractions, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has warned that the U.S., the world’s biggest economy, has the potential to derail the rebound. U.S. House Republicans have failed to agree on a budget with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, shutting down the government for the first time in 17 years.
The shutdown “is clearly on our minds,” Draghi said on Oct. 2 after the ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent. “If it were to be protracted, it would certainly pose a risk for the recovery in the U.S. and the world.”
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