German exports surged 22.5 percent in September, according to official data released Monday, which showed Europe's largest economy is recovering quickly but still depends largely on foreign demand for its industrial products.
The Federal Statistics Office said exports rose to 86.9 billion euros ($122.4 billion) from 70.9 billion euros in September 2009. Imports were up 18 percent on the year to 70.1 billion euros, the agency based in Wiesbaden said.
The resulting foreign trade surplus of 16.8 billion euros was up from a surplus of 11.5 billion euros a year earlier.
"Despite fiscal consolidation in other eurozone countries and slower global demand, products 'made in Germany' remain a bestseller," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.
In a separate report, the Economy Ministry said industrial production slipped 0.8 percent in September from the previous month following an unexpectedly strong August.
Output of so-called investment goods such as machinery remained steady, but the production of consumer goods fell 0.6 percent. The production of intermediate goods — used in the production of other goods — saw a 2 percent drop.
The German economy returned to unexpectedly strong growth this year and the government recently more than doubled its growth forecast for 2010 and raised its estimate of tax income.
The country posted spectacular quarter-on-quarter growth of 2.2 percent in the April-June period. Third quarter growth figures are due out Friday, though no one expects anything as impressive this time.
Although Germany has slipped behind China as the world's largest exporter, exports still help drive the economy, whereas consumer spending remains weak.
German exports to countries within the European Union remained the greatest, rising 14.1 percent over September 2009 to 52.1 billion euros, the statistics office said.
But exports outside the EU grew the most, rising 37.7 percent over September 2009 to 34.8 billion euros.
"Today's numbers confirm that exports were a strong growth driver in the second quarter. Even better, this trend will not stop any time soon," Brzeski said. "Export expectations just reached a new record high and recent Chinese leading indicators, pointing to a renewed strengthening of Chinese import demand since the summer, bode also well for German exporters."
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