The health crisis and its consequences have opened deep cracks in the balance of German exports. The Foreign sales of goods fell 9.3% in 2020 compared to 2019, up to 1.2047 billion euros. Analysts do not expect a full recovery at least until the end of 2022. The main gap was detected in March and was followed by a slow recovery that, however, suggests structural changes that indicate that Germany is affected by the health crisis in its exports, waiting for sectors such as pharmaceuticals to take the plunge. replacement of other traditional, such as the automobile. “For now, the pre-crisis level in foreign trade has not been reached,” says Sebastian Dullien, director of the IMK Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle, “in addition to the ongoing consequences of the health crisis, two special factors play a role. role in these figures: Brexit and bottlenecks in semiconductor delivery. Another notable drop is expected for the first months of 2021. Bottlenecks in chip supply are hampering car production and therefore holding back exports.
2020 is the biggest setback since the economic and financial crisis of 2009, when exports fell by 18.4% compared to 2008. Despite the fact that Donald Trump was still in the White House, Germany’s main trading partner in 2020 continued to be the United States, to which it exported goods and services worth 103,800 million euros, which means a decrease of 12.5% compared to 2019. In second place on the list of preferred partners was China, which in 2020 imported goods and services from Germany worth 95.9 billion euros, 0.1% less than the previous year. And in third place is France, with 91 million euros, 14.6% less than allows China to snatch from this country the second place it occupied in 2019.
In terms of imports, China also climbs on the list of partners. Germany imported goods and services worth 1.0256 trillion euros in 2020, which represents a fall of 7.1% compared to the previous year and also the biggest setback since the previous crisis, when imports fell by 17, 5% in 2009 compared to 2008. largest volume of imports in 2020 came from China, from where Germany imported goods and services worth 116,200 million euros, 5.6% more than in 2019. In second place is the Netherlands, a country from which Germany imported a value of 88,400 million euros, a 9, 6% less than in 2019, and in third place, the United States, with 67,800 million euros, which represents a fall of 5%.
On the whole, the European locomotive accumulated a trade surplus of 179,100 million euros, compared to 224,000 million euros in 2019, a decrease that is not a novelty but that exacerbates the trend. This is the fourth consecutive decline in the trade surplus, which was even smaller in 2011, when it stood at € 158.7 billion. While in 2020 it is clear that the main decline in exports was due to the start of the pandemic in March, with the consequent closure of borders, the disruption of logistics and the disruption of supply chains, which significantly slowed the business of export, exports increased for the next eight months in a row, but it was not enough to offset the decline. A recovery linked to the recovery of the world economy in 2021 is envisioned, which should work in favor of exporters. For China, Germany’s most important trading partner, for example, economic growth of around 8.5% is expected this year. The US economy is also likely to grow strongly. Consequently, the German Foreign Trade Association (BGA) expects a take-off and the pre-crisis level to be reached again no later than the summer of 2022.
In January, the mood among German exporters improved significantly. Export expectations from the Ifo Institute survey to the industry rose from 1.9 points to 6.0 points, the best value since October, thanks mainly to the return of the US to global trade and the start of vaccination global, but it is cautious optimism because the consequences of Brexit, added to the stoppage due to the coronavirus, are difficult to gauge, while the first inflation data for 2021 point to the time when the ECB changes its monetary discourse is approaching .