Weak German trade suggests meagre growth in third-quarter

German exports unexpectedly fell in August, data showed on Tuesday, in a fresh sign that manufacturers in Europe’s largest economy have shifted into a lower gear over the summer months.
FILE PHOTO - Cars and containers are pictured at a shipping terminal in the harbour of the German northern town of Bremerhaven, late October 8, 2012.REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
The Federal Statistics Office said seasonally adjusted exports edged down by 0.1 percent on the month, missing a Reuters forecast of a 0.3 percent rise. Imports dropped by 2.7 percent, undershooting a predicted 0.2 percent fall.
The seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened to 18.3 billion euros (16.1 billion pounds) in August from 15.9 billion in the previous month, the data showed.
Germany’s wider current account surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments, rose to 15.3 billion euros from 15.1 billion euros in July, unadjusted data showed.
The trade figures chimed with manufacturing data released on Monday that showed industrial output edged down unexpectedly in August, suggesting the German economy lost steam in the third quarter.
Economists are taking an increasingly pessimistic view of the German economy, with the top German institutes last month revising down their 2018 growth forecast and warning that an escalation of trade friction involving the United States could cause a major recession in Germany and Europe.
A source has also told Reuters that the government will revise down its growth forecasts for this year and next. The government is expected to announce its updated growth projections on Thursday.