German trade surplus soars to all-time high despite easing in exports
FRANKFURT (AFP) - Germany's trade surplus soared to a new record high last year, although export momentum tailed off at the end of the year.
Europe's biggest economy notched up a trade surplus of 198.9 billion euros (S$343.2 billion) last year, the highest since foreign trade data have been compiled. In 2012, the surplus had stood at 189.8 billion euros.
Germany has come under fire for its booming trade surplus, with critics arguing that its economic prowess comes at the expense of the euro zone's weaker members.
The critics argue that Germany needs to boost domestic demand and so help its partners in the European Union by spurring export-driven growth in their economies rather than continue to rely mostly on its own exports for growth. Berlin, however, has persistently dismissed the criticism, arguing that the high surplus reflects the competitiveness of German firms.