Is an Increase in German Exports a Good Thing for Germany?

From today’s Open Europe news summary:

German exports rise unexpectedly

German exports rose by 1.9% month-on-month in March 2016, according to new data released by the National Statistics Office (Destatis) yesterday. It was the largest monthly increase in half a year, and came as a surprise to analysts who did not expect any growth at all. Imports in March dropped by 2.3% to €80.9bn, leaving Germany with a trade surplus of €26bn.

Source: Reuters Deutschland Handelsblatt

A rise in German exports is seen as a positive development, but is it? What does Germany get in return for sending its products abroad, especially if it sends these products to other members of the Eurozone; i.e., that countries using the euro? It gets an increase in its euro-denominated credit at the European Central Bank, known as its TARGET2 balance. In other words, Germans work hard to produce real, vendible goods in exchange for a debased and depreciating currency.

Patrick Barron

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