Wiesbaden (dpa) - Global trade conflicts and the cooling of the global economy have burdened the German export balance at the end of the year 2019.

In November, the companies delivered goods worth 112.9 billion euros abroad, 2.9 percent less than in November 2018, as the Federal Statistical Office announced in Wiesbaden on Thursday. Imports decreased 1.6 percent to EUR 94.6 billion. The German economy does not expect any rapid improvement in the current year either. The prospects have even darkened at the moment.

"The declines in German exports and imports once again make it clear that the trade conflicts and the worsening global economy will leave significant traces in the overall balance for 2019," explained Holger Bingmann, President of the BGA foreign trade association. The trade war between the United States and China in particular is weighing on the global economy, which Germany, as a large exporting nation, is particularly suffering from.

In the first eleven months, exports grew by only 0.7 percent to 1229.6 billion euros. Exports are thus far from the growth rates of the boom years. The BGA most recently expected export growth for the full year 2019 of a maximum of 0.5 percent.

At the same time, hopes of a recovery were dampened by the escalation of the conflict between the United States and Iran. "The risks to the global economy increased again at the beginning of the year," said Bingmann. The escalation in the Middle East means another factor of uncertainty for companies.

The head of foreign trade at the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Volker Treier, assessed the prospects in a similar way. “Global uncertainties will remain in 2020 due to trade conflicts, sanctions or Brexit.” The new tensions in the Middle East also darkened the prospect of an early recovery in international business.

According to economists, a further escalation of the conflict in the Middle East could hit the German economy hard. Should there be a war in the oil-rich region, oil as a lubricant for the global economy could become significantly more expensive.

Compared to the previous month, exports in November decreased by 2.3 percent and imports by 0.5 percent.

Federal Statistical Office on exports 11/2019