Financial TimesFinancial Times

Germany warns of ‘historic challenge’ as trade slides into deficit

By Martin Arnold

07 Apr 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Germany’s economy is faltering amid soaring inflation. Last month, the country imported more than it exported for the first time in three decades. The FT explains why this could be a bad omen.

Soaring energy prices and trading disruption push balance €1bn into the red for MayGermany’s political and business leaders warned that the country was facing its biggest economic crisis for decades as soaring energy prices and disruptions to trade pushed the country into a monthly trade deficit in goods for the first time in more than 30 years.

The rise in energy prices increased the cost of imports to Europe’s largest economy in May, while global trade disruption weighed down exports, causing a $1bn deficit — the first since 1991. The figures contrasted with years in which Germany’s manufacturing exports drove the country’s growth and made it the powerhouse of the EU economy.

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