Mar. 11 - German exports and imports surged in January at the fastest pace in nearly two years. Hayley Platt looks at the impact on the rest of the euro zone.
Well-oiled and running smoothly - that's the latest verdict on Germany's economy. Demand for goods at home and abroad increased in January at its fastest pace for two years. Exports rose by 2.2 percent and imports increased by more than 4 percent, both well above forecasts. That helped narrow the trade surplus by a billion euros to just over 17 billion. James Ashley, RBC Capital Markets. SOUNDBITE: James Ashley, senior European Economist, RBC Capital Markets, saying (English): "The fact that imports increased by more than exports suggests that there are some signs that German domestic demand might be starting to improve and that's got to be a good thing in terms of generating stimulus in the European economic recovery." The data follows strong industrial output and positive sentiment from consumers, investors and businesses. But what does it mean for the rest of the euro zone? SOUNDBITE: James Ashley, senior European Economist, RBC Capital Markets, saying (English): "You want to see stronger German consumption, you want to see stronger exports of investment in the likes of say Spain but for the external euro area parts of the world, it's wholly positive that Germany is seeing strong export growth." Demand from European countries outside the euro zone contributed most to the surge - up 9% on the year. But there was a 3% percent rise within the bloc - which will be welcomed by many. Only shipments to countries beyond Europe fell.