Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
As Europe’s powerhouse economy, Germany will play a huge role in leading the region out of its coronavirus slump. And today we can see that exports have picked up sharply as the lockdown eased – although there’s still a long way still to go.
Exports from German companies jumped by 9% in May, statistics body Destatis reports, to €80.3bn. Imports rose by a more modest 3.5%, to €73.2bn, widening Germany’s trade surplus.
Although encouraging, that still leaves imports over 21% lower than in May 2019, with exports a whopping 29.7% lower. But it’s a sign that economic demand has been picking up as companies struggled to return to work amid the pandemic.
Destatis points out that Germany’s trade position is much weaker than before the crisis began:
Compared with April 2020, exports were up 9.0% and imports 3.5% after calendar and seasonal adjustment. Compared with February 2020 – the month before the corona lockdown, exports decreased by a calendar and seasonally adjusted 26.8%, and imports by 18.2%.
The figures also show that trade with the US and UK was particularly weak in May, while exports to China held up better — as the Chinese lockdown ended earlier, of course (more on that shortly..).
Also coming up today
European stock markets are expected to open higher, after China’s equities rallied to another five-year high, their eighth day of gains.
The latest unemployment figures from America are likely to show that more than a million people filed new welfare claims last week, extending a grim run which began in March.
This ‘initial claims’ figure is expected to dip from 1.42m to 1.37m, still alarmingly high, as some states reimposed lockdown restrictions as Covid-19 cases rose.
Euzone finance ministers are meeting today, to select their next leader. Spanish economy minister Nadia Calvino, Irish finance minister Pascal Donohoe and Pierre Gramegna of Luxembourg are all in the running to chair the eurogroup.
The vote comes at a crucial time, as European leaders struggle to agree the details of a massive recovery fund.
- 9am BST: Eurogroup meeting begins
- 1.30pm BST: US weekly jobless figures