Germany’s trade surplus widened in September to a record high in a development that underlines criticism that Europe’s largest economy is not importing enough to boost other economies on the continent.
Exports were up 1.7% to €92.8bn in September over August, when adjusted for seasonal and calendar differences. Imports dropped 1.9% to €73.9bn, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Friday.
As a result, the trade surplus in September hit a record high €18.8bn, up from a revised €15.8bn in August.
The United States has criticised Germany for its large trade surplus, saying it was causing problems for its partners in the 17-country eurozone – importing goods and services from countries like Greece and Spain could help shore up those debt-laden economies. It urged Germany to push for more domestic-led growth.
The International Monetary Fund has also joined in the criticism, saying that a smaller surplus by German is the only way to even out the imbalances that plague the eurozone.
Since the creation of the euro in 1999, the currency union has become split between countries that run up surpluses and ones that run chronic deficits – and got into trouble with excess debt. The argument is Germany should buy more from other countries and support growth elsewhere in the eurozone.
The Germans say there’s no purpose to be served in making their economy less competitive. They have pressed other eurozone members to reduce their budget deficits and improve growth prospects through reforms that cut excessive labour costs – as Germany did a decade ago.