Germany: taking a deficit for the team
Germany's overall trade surplus continued to increase this year. But in trading with other eurozone countries, its €300 million surplus turned into a €1.1 billion deficit in August.This means that Germany is in fact helping to reduce the deficits of crisis-struck countries like Spain and Italy.
Today Germany published its trade statistics for August. It showed that its overall trade surplus continued to increase, from €7.9 billion in August 2011 to €11.1 billion August this year.as exports increased 5.8% while imports rose only 0.7%.
However, if we look at trade with other euro area countries alone, we can see that last year's surplus of €300 million turned into a €1.1 billion deficit in August this year as exports to the rest of the euro area fell by 3.1% while imports from the rest of the euro area rose 1.1%. The rest of the euro area thus slightly increased its share of German imports while sharply decreasing its share of exports.
This means that Germany is in fact doing what others have called upon them to do: helping to reduce the deficits of the crisis struck countries in Southern Europe by selling less to and buying more from them. That however doesn't mean that Germany's overall surplus has to fall, it has in fact increased due to rising surpluses both with non-euro area EU countries like Britain and Sweden and to non-EU countries.