Germany's exports slide the most since the height of the 2009 recession

New cars waiting for export at the terminal in Bremerhaven, Germany, on Oct 2.
New cars waiting for export at the terminal in Bremerhaven, Germany, on Oct 2.PHOTO: EPA

FRANKFURT (Bloomberg News) - German exports slumped the most since the height of the 2009 recession in a sign that Europe's largest economy is vulnerable to risks from weakening global trade.

Foreign sales in Europe's most powerful economy declined 5.2 per cent in August from the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said on Thursday.

That's the steepest since January 2009. Economists predicted a drop of 0.9 per cent. Imports fell 3.1 per cent. The trade surplus shrank to 15.3 billion euros (US$17.2 billion) from 25 billion euros in July, according to the report.

Germany is grappling with a slowdown in China and other emerging markets, which have been key destinations for its exports. With factory orders from countries outside the 19- nation euro region down more than 13 per cent in July and August combined, the focus is shifting to strengthening domestic spending fueled by pent-up investment demand and consumption.

The decline is the latest sign that prospects for the economy are deteriorating. Germany's leading economic institutes are set to lower their growth forecast for 2015 to about 1.8 per cent from a previous estimate of 2.1 per cent, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The European Central Bank will publish an account of its Sept 2-3 monetary-policy meeting later on Thursday. Investors are looking for signs that policy makers are getting closer to increasing stimulus.