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German exports saw record decline in April

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By Maria Martinez

German exports plunged in April due to the coronavirus pandemic as the indicator recorded its steepest monthly decline since the data was first published in August 1990, Germany's statistics office Destatis said Tuesday.

German exports dropped 24.0% in April from March in adjusted terms. Economists had forecast a 25.0% decline in exports in adjusted terms, according to a poll from Dow Jones Newswires.

Imports fell 16.5% on month, showing the largest month-on-month decrease since the beginning of the series in August 1990, the statistics office said. The figures account for seasonal swings and calendar effects.

The export data follow negative data from the German industrial sector in April, amid global lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Germany's industrial output posted a 17.9% drop in April and German manufacturing orders fell by 25.8%, the largest drops on record since the beginning of the series in January 1991.

Germany's trade surplus--the balance of exports and imports of goods--totaled 3.2 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in calendar and seasonally adjusted terms in April, according to Destatis. This compares with Dow Jones Newswires' forecast of EUR9.0 billion.

Exports totaled EUR75.7 billion, while imports amounted to EUR72.2 billion, both in adjusted terms. Of the exports, EUR38.2 billion went to European Union member states and EUR37.5 billion to other countries, Destatis said.

According to provisional results from the Deutsche Bundesbank, the current account of the balance of payments showed a surplus of EUR7.7 billion, which takes into account the balances of trade in goods including supplementary trade items, services, primary income and secondary income. Dow Jones Newswires forecast was EUR14.0 billion.

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com

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