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Analysis

German and French export growth

by Gabriel Stein

Mon 12 May 2014

German and French export growth Enlarge Chart loading Image

What the chart shows: The chart shows German and French exports set to an index of 2010=100

Why the chart is important: Euro area growth is beginning to benefit from domestic demand. But exports remain a key driver. The strong euro therefore remains a problem for the single currency zone, not only because of its impact on consumer prices. Over the past 18 months, German exports have broadly speaking moved sideways. Compared to the average export level in billions of euros in 2010 – the year the euro area fiscal crises erupted – German exports rose by 13% to the autumn of 2012. This is where they remained in early 2014; but, the most recent data (March 2014) shows a sharp weakening. On a monthly basis, exports have fallen for three of the past four months. However, Germany continues to run a balance of trade surplus. This is not the case with France, the euro area's second largest economy, which in March 2014 registered its 120th consecutive monthly trade deficit. Moreover, where German exports are at least (roughly) at their 2012 peak, French exports are down about 5%. This highlights the continued competitiveness problems of the French economy over and above the impact of the strong euro, a problem which still is not being seriously tackled by the government.

Chart and comments provided by Oxford Economics www.oxfordeconomics.com