It is very likely that Germany will remain the world’s most important exporting country in 2008. China, on the other hand, will drop back to the third position. This was reported yesterday by the Federal Agency for Foreign Trade (bfai). Despite smaller growth in exports during the month of March, German exports nevertheless grew by 21% in the first quarter. The gap between Germany and China remained almost unchanged, according to the bfai experts in Cologne.
The USA is currently also still outperforming Chinese exports. Thanks to the current strong devaluation of the dollar the USA is still the second most important exporting country in the world. According to experts, however, the USA will not hold this position for long.
One factor which favours the position of Germany as the world’s leading exporting country are currency turbulences in the wake of the real estate crisis in the USA. According to the Federal Statistical Office, German exports increased by 17.4% to 130.4 billion US dollars in March as compared to March last year. Thus, in the first quarter 2008 these increased by 21.0% to 379.1 billion dollars as compared to the fourth quarter in 2007. China, on the other hand, could increase its exports by 21.4% to 306.1 billion dollars.
In calculating the above figures the exchange rates of the Euro, Dollar and the Chinese Renminbi played an important role: in the first quarter 2008 the Euro gained on average 14.3% against the US-dollar as compared to the first quarter in 2007. On the other hand, the exchange rate of the Chinese Renminbi, which is bound to a currency basket, increased by just 8.3% against the dollar. If German exports were calculated in Euro, they would have increased by 6% only.
China has been profiting from economic growth in several buyer countries. Chinese exports to the USA, however, grew by 5.4% only in the first quarter 2008. For year’s the importance of the USA as buyer of Chinese goods has been decreasing. Since 2005 the export volume to the US has fallen by almost 4 percent. Currently the US buys 17.5% of all Chinese exports.
The US, on the other hand, benefit from the sharp devaluation of the dollar which pushes US exports. Thus, the USA, which in the last three quarter 2007 came 3rd next to China with regard to exports, rank currently second. This quarterly increase of 18% is the most important in many years. China, however, is expected to re-conquer the second rank by the end of 2008, according to estimates by the bfai.