German exports disappoint, imports off sharply in May, adding to expectations of weak quarter

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BERLIN – German exports fell more than expected in May while imports dropped sharply, adding to data that point to a weak second quarter for Europe’s biggest economy and also pushing up the country’s trade surplus.

The Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday that exports were down 1.1 per cent compared with the previous month, a steeper drop than the 0.4 per cent decline economists expected. Imports fell 3.4 per cent.

Germany’s May trade surplus was 18.8 billion euros ($25.6 billion), up from 17.7 billion euros in April.

Germany’s economy grew a robust 0.8 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period, but disappointing recent data have fed expectations of slower second-quarter growth.

Factory orders and industrial production in May were below expectations amid slowing growth in China and tensions over Ukraine.

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