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German trade surplus slips in March as exports fall

Germany's trade surplus shrank in March from the February level after exports again fell, data showed Friday.

BERLIN: Germany's trade surplus shrank in March from the February level after exports again fell, data showed Friday.

Europe's top economy posted a trade surplus of 14.8 billion euros (US$20.5 billion), down from the slightly revised figure for February of 15.7 billion euros, the official data showed.

The figure, which allows for seasonal blips, was below forecasts of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

German exports fell 1.8 per cent in March to 91.6 billion euros, while imports slipped 0.9 per cent compared to the previous month, to 76.7 billion euros, the federal statistics office Destatis said.

In unadjusted terms, the German trade surplus stood at 16.4 billion euros, a slight increase from the February level.

Germany's exports to other eurozone countries nudged up 0.1 per cent in March compared to the same month a year earlier, but jumped 10.4 per cent to other EU countries.

Germany has come under fire for its large trade surplus, with critics arguing that its economic might comes at the expense of the eurozone's weaker members.

Carsten Brzeski, of ING-DiBa, said other industrial data had also shown the Ukraine crisis, as well as a slowdown in China, had an impact in March.

"The destiny of German exports remains in the hands of its good old trading partners in the West outside of the eurozone," he said.

But he added: "All in all, with ongoing geopolitical problems and the slowing emerging economies, it looks as if Germany's famous export engine could still be sputtering for a while."

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