According to the Federal Statistical Office, a long series of annual German record export surpluses came to an end in 2008. German exports in 2008 amounted to 994.9 billion Euros and imports to 818.6 billion Euros which resulted in a foreign trade surplus of 176.2 billion Euros. This amount was 19.1 billion Euros less than in the year 2007. Nevertheless, the surplus in 2008 was the second largest since the year 1950, according to the BGA association.
In 2008 German exports and imports surpassed those of the year 2007 by 3.1% and 6.3% respectively. Thus, the smaller foreign trade surplus in 2008 was due to the fact that imports grew faster than exports.
As a consequence, the German record surplus of 2007 could not be surpassed. In 2007 the record foreign trade surplus had reached 195.3 billion Euros which was the biggest surplus since its first calculation in 1950. The rapid increase of the German foreign trade surplus had started in the year 2001 with 95.5 billion Euros. In 2002 it had already reached 132.8 billion Euros. In 2003 it slightly fell to 129.9 billion Euros.
Since the year 2004 the German foreign trade surplus had increased almost every year. Thus, in 2006 the surplus amounted to 159.0 billion Euros, in 2005 to 158.2 billion and to 156.1 billion Euros in the year 2004.
According to the BGA, Germans have no reason for complaining of not breaking the record in 2008 as well: “The year 2008 was the second most successful for the German foreign trade since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. The foreign trade surplus reached almost 176 billion Euros last year and was once more the driving force of the German economy,” said Mr. Anton F. Borner, president of the BGA, on Monday in Berlin.
For 2009, however, it is expected that the foreign trade surplus is going to continue falling. This was due to exports which fall much more rapidly than imports.
According to provisional calculations by the German Bundesbank, the balance of current accounts closed with a surplus of 162.5 billion Euros in 2008 after a surplus of 180.8 billion Euros in the year 2007.