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Germany Sees Massive Drop in Russian Exports, Rise in Chinese Imports | News | DW

German exports to Russia have fallen since the invasion of Ukraine, the Federal Statistical Office, or Destatis, reported on Monday. At the same time, however, imports into Germany from Russia were booming.

Economists found that exports to the Russian Federation had already fallen by around 60% year-on-year for March 2022, and that number had fallen to 64.1% for April 2022. One of the biggest falls is occurred in the field of machinery exports, which fell by 57.7% to 226.9 million euros (236 million dollars) compared to April 2021, and exports of chemical products, which fell by 53, 1% to €114.1 million.

Many of these products were subject to EU sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time, the sharp decline in exports to Russia was also offset by a significant increase in imports in April 2022 in value. According to Destatis, German imports from Russia increased by 41.9% to 3.7 billion euros. The main goods imported from Russia were crude oil and natural gas, which increased by 37.8% in value to 2.2 billion euros, despite the government’s efforts to wean itself off energy imports from Moscow.

“Other important import goods were coal and petroleum products (+94.3% to 0.4 billion euros) and coal (+334.7% to 0.4 billion euros)”, indicates the report. In volume, however, the trend went in the opposite direction. In April 2022, 26.1% less goods were imported from Russia compared to the same month a year earlier.

The increases in the value of imports were largely due to surging oil and gas prices rather than an increase in the volume purchased, Destatis said.

“The import surplus in foreign trade with Russia in April was 2.9 billion euros. In March it amounted to 3.4 billion euros,” Destatis wrote. The German term “import surplus” is often called “trade deficit” in English.

Germany tends to import more from Russia than it exports there, but the gap has widened in recent months with its main import, natural gas, so far largely spared from EU-related sanctions. ‘Ukraine.

Massive import surplus with China

The same report found that several strict coronavirus-related lockdowns across China in 2022 did not affect trade with Germany at all, despite disruptions to goods traffic. For April 2022, German imports from China increased by 52.8% to 16.7 billion euros compared to the same month of the previous year.

Despite this, German exports to China fell slightly, down 1.5% to 8.3 billion euros. Destatis said that while exports of motor vehicles and their parts have increased somewhat, exports of machinery have fallen significantly.

As for the sharp increase in Chinese imports to Germany, this is largely due to the import of chemicals worth 4.4 billion euros, six times more than the previous year. Rising demand for raw materials used in pharmaceutical production, data processing equipment and other electrical equipment has also driven the rise in imports.

“As a result of these developments, Germany recorded an import surplus [imports minus exports] of 8.4 billion euros in foreign trade with China in April 2022,” Destatis noted.

Later Monday, the Finland-based think tank, the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research, said China had overtaken Germany as the top customer for Russian energy exports in the past two month.

According to the NGO, Russia has received around 93 billion euros in exchange for energy projects since the start of the war. China had paid €12.6 billion to Germany’s €12.1 billion, although the EU as a whole still accounted for some 61% of Russia’s energy sales.

Edited by Mark Hallam


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