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Germany's exports plunged by 9.3% last year as the coronavirus pandemic dragged down demand, the biggest drop since the financial crisis in 2009, official data showed Tuesday.
Imports dropped 7.1%, the Federal Statistical Office said. That also was the steepest decline since 2009, when exports fell by 18.4% and imports by 17.5%.
The United States remained the single biggest destination for German exports despite a 12.5% drop, taking goods to the tune of 103.8 billion euros ($125 billion). China placed second with a minimal 0.1% decline to 95.9 billion euros and France third with 91 billion euros — a 14.6% fall.
China was the biggest single source of imports to Germany, with its total increasing 5.6% to 116.2 billion euros. The Netherlands and the United States were second and third, with declines of 9.6% and 5% respectively.
Figures released last month showed that the German economy, Europe's biggest, shrank by 5% last year. That was a better outcome than long expected.
Last year's figures left Germany with an export surplus of 179.1 billion euros — its smallest since 2011, and the fourth consecutive decline.
The statistics office said that exports in December were 2.7% higher than a year earlier, and up 0.1% compared with the previous month.
While there were significant year-on-year rises in December in exports to both China and the United States, exports to the U.K. dropped 3.3% in the last month before the country left the European Union's single market.
Transport between Britain and continental Europe was disrupted significantly in December as restrictions were applied following the discovery of a more contagious coronavirus variant in Britain. German imports from Britain dropped 11.4%.