Germany remains the proverbial strong man of Europe, but we are skeptical that this is a fitting moniker. Looking at exports, it is now clear that Germany and thus Europe continues to see weakness. The total value of German exports has now clearly rolled over from its peak in mid-2012, which coincides with the share of total exports going to China.
Germany has been compensated for this by growing exports to the US, but with the contribution of exports to France (Germany’s biggest export market) and China now looking to contribute negatively, the margin of safety is getting thinner.
This also adds an interesting perspective on the recent abysmal growth figures from France, in that this will be transmitted strongly into German export figures.