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Germany’s trade surplus with the world outside the EU was bigger proportionately than her trade surplus with EU countries

The Size & Make-Up of German Exports

  • In 2011, measured by the aggregate value of exports of Goods, Services &(receipts of) Income, German exports were € 1501 billion – more than double the value of all categories of British exports.
  • Measured by value of exports of Goods alone, the German total was €1112 billion – over three times the equivalent British figure.
  • In exports of Services in 2011, the German total of € 190 billion was of the same order of magnitude as the total for British exports of Services. In receipts of Income in 2011, the German total of € 199 billion was also probably of the same order of magnitude as the British.
  • In 2011, almost three-quarters by value of total German exports (Goods, Services, receipts of Income) consisted of exports of Goods. (British Goods exports account for well under half of total British exports.)
  • A similar proportion (73%) of all German imports consists of imports of German Trade Surpluses
  • In 2011, Germany’s overall trade surplus (i.e. exports less imports) with the Rest of the World was € 180 billion.
  • In that year, 57% of Germany’s total trade surplus, € 103 billion, was with the other 26 EU countries. Germany was in surplus with twenty EU countries & in deficit with six mainly smaller EU countries.
  • Germany’s three biggest trade surpluses by country were with France, the USA & the UK, in that order. All three surpluses can be considered as ongoing structural surpluses.
  • Over the five-year period 2007-2011 Germany’s cumulated trade surplus with France, € 150 billion, was 39% bigger than Germany’s surplus with the UK (€ 108 billion).
  • Considered by category of trade, German trade in Goods & Income was in substantial surplus in 2011, offset somewhat by a deficit on trade in Services.

The Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect & the separate Netherlands Distortion

The effect of these well-known statistical distortions can be seen in the German balance of payments data, trade with the Netherlands being reported as higher than one would expect from the Netherlands’ population & GDP. These same statistical distortions affect the balance of payments data of the UK (in the Pink Book for example), France, Switzerland & other countries.

For full tables go to the pdf version.


Download Briefing Note: BN#78 German Trade in 2011

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