Wednesday, November 20, 2019

German exports stabilized, but trade risks remain: finance ministry

BERLIN (Reuters) - German exports stabilized at the end of the third quarter but a slowing world economy and persistent trade risks for Europe's largest economy point to only moderate developments in the coming months, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

Germany's manufacturers, whose exports have been a reliant growth driver for decades, are struggling with weaker foreign demand, tariff disputes sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump's trade policies and business uncertainty linked to Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

"Export activity regained some momentum toward the end of the third quarter," the finance ministry said in its monthly report, adding that business sentiment surveys and industrial orders were pointing to a continued trend of subdued trade.

"Given the weakening global economic momentum and persistent external risks (for trade), exports are likely to continue to develop only moderately," the ministry said.

Record-high employment and rising wages continue to support private consumption and construction in Germany while state spending is giving the economy an additional push, it added.

The German economy narrowly avoided slipping into recession in the third quarter as consumers, state spending and construction drove a 0.1% quarterly expansion.

The Federal Statistics Office will publish detailed gross domestic product growth figures on Friday which will shed more light on how much household consumption, government spending, private sector investment and foreign demand helped Europe's largest economy to avoid another quarter of contraction.

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