German Exports Reach Record Levels in 2012 image

Exports in Germany reached a new record in 2012 despite the economic crisis which weighed on euro-area demand.

In December, exports increased 0.3%, after they fell 2.2% in November, according to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden. Last year exports saw an increase of 3.4% to a record 1.1 trillion euro ($1.47 trillion). Still, the export growth slowed down due to the economic crisis which made sales drop within the euro area, forcing German automaker to focus on the Asian emerging markets.

Germany, Europe’s largest market, begins to recover after a fourth-quarter slump and the unemployment rate dropped 6.8% in January. In December imports dropped 1.3% and the trade balance fell to 12 billion euro from 16.9 billion euro in November.

“Strongly improved business sentiment backs our expectations of a gradual improvement throughout the first quarter,” said Alexander Koch, an economist at UniCredit Group in Munich.

In January new car sales in Germany dropped 8.5% to 192,000 vehicles, compared with 2012 when the country reported the smallest decline among automakers in Europe. The VDIK auto industry association said that demand could recover this year as the German economy starts to grow, reaffirming its forecast of 3 million-plus sales in the country this year.