Germany records its first monthly trade deficit since 1991 in May as inflation worsens

Germany reported its first monthly trade deficit since 1991 as the cost of its oil and gas imports skyrocketed in the aftermath of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the office reported on Monday.

May’s foreign trade balance came in at a minus EUR1 billion, the first negative reading in more than three decades, due to the country’s energy issues and manufacturing downturn.

At the same time, exports declined for the third time in five months, by 0.5 percent on a month-over-month and seasonally-adjusted basis, but were still up 11.7 percent on the year, while imports outperformed expectations by increasing by 2.7 percent, according to statistics released by the Federal Statistical Office on Monday.

The unexpected decrease in German exports was caused by weaker demand from European Union countries, which saw a 2.8 percent drop in shipments compared to April 2022.