Russia's aggression against Ukraine has also left a big mark on German exports.

Businesses with Russia fell sharply in March.

In the first month of the start of Russian aggression in Ukraine, German exports have fallen more than at the beginning of the crisis after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

In March, German exports fell by 3.3 percent compared to last month and now have a value of 120.6 billion euros, the Federal Statistical Office announced.

The last major decline was in April 2020, when the pandemic slowed foreign trade.

Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a minus of just 2 percent in March 2022, as in February there was a seasonal increase in exports of 6.2 percent.

On the other hand, imports increased by 3.4 percent in March, after increasing by 4.7 percent in February.

The war in Ukraine

"The decline in exports is also due to the war in Ukraine.

"The March data are the first to clearly show the consequences of the war," said Alexander Krüger, chief economist at Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe Privatbank AG.

"There is no rapid improvement.

German exports risk falling off the hitherto successful tracks.

International space for exports is not good.

"Difficulties in the supply chain, high inflation and rising interest rates do not go in favor of exports," said Thomas Gitzel, chief economist at VP Bank.

American business is booming, China is buying less

German exports to Russia fell by 62.3 percent and in March were only 0.9 billion euros, due to sanctions and other measures restricting exports.

On the other hand, imports from Russia fell by only 2.4 percent and in March reached the figure of 3.6 billion euros.

Germany mainly imports oil and natural gas from Russia.

German exports to EU member states also fell 1.7 percent in March.

On the other hand, exports to the most important customer, the US, increased by 3.2 percent, while those to China fell by 4.3 percent.

German exports to China in March were in the volume of about 9.1 billion euros.

The People's Republic of China is currently struggling with a new wave of COVID-19 and this has hampered economic relations with other countries, including trade.

"The spread of COVID-19 in China will continue to cause problems in the field of export and import," said Krüger.

Business with the UK has also fallen by 3.9 per cent.

The value of exports is significantly higher than in March 2021

However, the total value of exports in March was 120.6 billion euros.

That was 8.1 percent more than in March last year, when the pandemic broke out.

Imports to Germany have also increased significantly compared to last year: by 20.3 percent and in March they reached the figure of 117.4 billion euros.

Compared to February of this year, imports have increased by 3.4 percent.

Exports to EU countries fell 1.7 percent - to 66.6 billion euros.

Exports to third countries fell 5.1 percent to 54 billion euros.

According to expert information, most of the exports of goods from Germany went to the US.

The value of these exports was 11.5 billion euros in March.

Most imports in March came from China to Germany, worth 16.3 billion euros, which is almost 16 percent more than in February.

While imports from third countries also increased by 10.1 percent - those from EU countries fell by 3 percent.

Climate improvement

But according to a survey by the IFO Institute, the spirit among German exporters improved slightly in April, in contrast to March when there was a marked decline.

"Despite the high level of uncertainty and logistical problems, there are currently signs that the export climate is stabilizing," said IFO President Clemens Fuest.

So many companies expect an increase in export earnings.

ING chief economist Carsten Brzeski, on the other hand, is skeptical.

"In general, there is a high risk that the war will accelerate the trend of deglobalization and cause energy and raw material prices to rise.

"In this way, German exports can have even bigger problems," said Brzeski.

/ Deutsche Welle /