Germany’s commerce surplus reached a brand new file of €252.9 billion ($270 billion) in 2016, the biggest hole between exports and imports for the reason that nation’s statistical company began conserving data.
The information follows criticism of Germany’s commerce insurance policies by Peter Navarro, an economist who leads President Trump’s White Home Commerce Council. Final week, Navarro accused Germany of using a “grossly undervalued” euro to harm the U.S. economic system.
Navarro is more likely to see Thursday’s report as additional proof that Europe’s largest economic system needs to be held to account.
“Peter Navarro shouldn’t be comfortable about that and I will be anticipating a Trump tweet,” mentioned Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.
German officers have rushed to defend the nation’s financial insurance policies following Navarro’s broadside.
“Germany is a rustic that has all the time known as for the European Central Financial institution to pursue an unbiased coverage, simply because the Bundesbank did earlier than the euro existed,” Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned final week in response.
It is true that Germany has no direct management over the euro — the foreign money is managed by the ECB.
However that argument is unlikely to fulfill the U.S. administration, which is pursuing a sequence of protectionist commerce insurance policies. Trump has particularly threatened German automakers with a 35% tariff on automobiles imported into the U.S.
Jens Spahn, a German deputy finance minister, argued forcefully in opposition to the Trump administration’s place on Thursday, saying that each the U.S. and Germany have reaped the advantages of globalization and financial integration.
“Blaming a rustic that has embraced these duties and advantages from a extremely aggressive enterprise setting can be weird. No one can have an curiosity in scary a commerce conflict,” he wrote within the Wall Street Journal.
This isn’t the primary time that Germany’s commerce imbalance has come below scrutiny. Many economists, together with these on the European Central Financial institution, have warned that the commerce imbalance inside poses a threat to the eurozone.
Critics argue that the German authorities ought to encourage sooner wage development by boosting its home spending. They are saying that may enhance home development in addition to demand for imports from different international locations.
The German authorities is basically proof against that concept, nonetheless. As an alternative, it’s targeted on attaining a balanced funds.
Jennifer McKeown, chief European economist at Capital Economics, mentioned the Trump administration could pursue a wide range of methods to scale back imports from Europe and enhance home manufacturing.
“Whereas protectionism could come within the type of tariffs, the U.S. administration may additionally try and maintain down the worth of the greenback,” she mentioned.
CNNMoney (London) First printed February 9, 2017: 10:15 AM ET