China Powers Germany’s Exports

German exports soared past pre-pandemic levels in June for the first time since the coronavirus crisis wreaked havoc on trade, official data showed Monday, as the industry shrugged off supply chain shortages.

The pandemic has severely disrupted global supply chains, leading to shortage in raw materials or components including timber, plastics and steel.

Germany’s crucial car industry has also been hit by a global computer chip crunch caused by a surge in demand for home electronics as employees are asked to work from home to cut infection risks.

But Europe’s biggest economy exported 118.7 billion euros ($140 billion) of goods in June, 1.1 percent more than in February 2020 — before the health emergency snared Germany.

The indicator rose for the 14th month in a row, and was 1.3 percent higher compared to May, after seasonal variations and calendar effects were taken into account.

“Today’s strong data illustrates that supply chain frictions have not yet affected German exports,” said analyst Carsten Brzeski of ING.

But he warned that this could change in coming months.

“While order books are still richly filled, supply chain frictions, particularly the lack of microchips, could lead to more delivery problems in key sectors like the automotive industry and therefore to some distortions of export data in the coming months,” he said.

Imports also saw a slight gain of 0.6 percent compared to a month ago to 102.4 billion euros.

Demand from the European Union for German goods was up 26.1 percent compared to a year ago, while that from other countries rose 20.7 percent.

China, a key market for Germany, imported 16 percent more than a year ago.