“The export downturn has begun,” said Volker Treier, the head of foreign trade at the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He pointed to the rising cost of German goods shipped overseas. “Exporters are less and less able to pass on cost increases caused by supply chains to international customers,” he said.
The United States remained the most important destination for German goods in May, with sales rising more than 5 percent from the previous month, to €13.4 billion. On the import side, China still topped the list as the country selling the most goods to Germany, worth €18 billion in May, a 1.6 percent drop from April.
The decrease in German goods sold in Russia has been among the causes of the drop in exports. For years Russia was a strong market for German manufacturers, but since the invasion of Ukraine in February the trend has been downward as companies have stopped doing business in the country. Compared with a year ago, sales to Russia have slumped more than 50 percent.
Economists are warning that the overall economic situation could become even more serious if Russia were to decide to cut off its deliveries of gas entirely. That risk has grown recently.