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German exports down 1.2 per cent in October, bigger-than-expected fall after earlier gains

BERLIN – Exports from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, dropped 1.2 per cent on the month in October after a strong gain the previous month — a sharper decline than economists had expected.

The drop reported Wednesday followed a 2.6-per cent gain in September. Economists had forecast a 0.6-per cent decline. The Federal Statistical Office said that imports dropped 3.4 per cent after a slightly larger gain the previous month.

That meant Germany’s trade surplus widened to 20.8 billion euros ($22.6 billion) from 19.4 billion euros in September.

ING-DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski said October’s export decline appears to be “a technical correction after strong September data, rather than a structural shift.” He also said that it is “very hard” to attribute the drop to the emissions-rigging scandal at automaker Volkswagen that erupted in mid-September.