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August 30, 2016

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German export growth view cut as Brexit impact looms

GERMANY’S BGA trade association slashed its 2016 forecast for export growth yesterday, predicting sales abroad by Europe’s biggest economy would later stagnate as the delayed impact of Brexit hit home.

Global demand for German goods has slowed significantly, with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union among several factors increasing uncertainties and complicating investment decisions, BGA chief Anton Boerner said.

“The repercussions (of Brexit) will impact us massively in the near future,” he said.

That effect has yet to be felt in the export sector, which the association forecast in April would grow by 4.5 percent this year. “I (now) think growth of only between 1.8 and 2.0 percent is feasible this year,” Boerner said.

Exports, traditionally the main driver of Germany’s economy, rose by 6.5 percent as recently as 2015, but Boerner said the outlook beyond 2016 was bleak. “Exports are set to stagnate, possibly as early as 2017 if viewed pessimistically,” Boerner said. “We’re hitting the ceiling.”

Germany releases trade figures next week for July, which are likely to show the first clear evidence of fallout from Britain’s June referendum vote.

German exports to Britain, its third most important market, stagnated year on year in the first six months at around 44.8 billion euros (US$50.1 billion).

Further afield, Germany’s trade prospects are also clouded by uncertainty about the US presidential election, the rise of nationalist movements in Europe, and other crises including the failed July 15 coup in Turkey and the civil war in Syria, Boerner said.

Exports to the United States and France, Germany’s two biggest markets, declined 4 percent to 53.4 billion euros and 2 percent to 52.1 billion euros respectively in the first half.

Demand from emerging markets was subdued, with exports to China only inching up 1 percent and Brazil falling by almost a fifth.


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