In a year hit by border closures and disruptions to supply chains, German exports totalled 1.21 tril..

German exports hit decade low for Covid-19

In a year hit by border closures and disruptions to supply chains, German exports totalled 1.21 trillion euros in the last 12 months, down from 1.33 trillion in 2019. Photo: Reuters

German exports fell more than 9 percent in 2020, official data showed Tuesday, with the coronavirus pandemic sparking the biggest drop in over a decade for Europe's biggest economy.

In a year hit by border closures and disruptions to supply chains, German exports totalled 1.21 trillion euros ($1.46 trillion) in the last 12 months, down from 1.33 trillion in 2019.

The 9.3-percent decrease is the largest blow to exports that Germany has suffered since an 18-percent drop during the global financial crisis of 2009.

Imports also fell by 7.1 percent to 1.03 trillion euros, the figures released by national statistics office Destatis showed.

That leaves Europe's largest economy with a positive foreign trade balance of 179.1 billion euros in 2020, down from 224 billion euros in the previous year.

The initial impact of the pandemic saw German exports fall 30 percent in the spring, and recovery measures in the summer failed to bring them back to pre-pandemic levels.

The United States remained the most eager buyer of "Made in Germany" products in 2020, accounting for 103 billion euros of the total, ahead of China with 96 billion euros and France 91 billion euros).

In December alone, exports to the US increased by 8.4 percent while sales to China climbed even higher by 11.6 percent, demonstrating the flexibility of German industry even in the face of new coronavirus restrictions introduced in late 2020.

Those restrictions have been extended well into 2021, forcing the German government to revise its forecast of 4.4-percent growth in GDP down to 3.0 percent for this year.

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