Germany's top imports and exports

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Europe’s most powerful economy, the Federal Republic of Germany shipped 1.378 trillion dollars worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 3.4 percent improvement since 2016 but a minus 7.3% drop from 2019 to 2020.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Germany uses the euro which appreciated by 2 percent against the US dollar since 2016 and rose by 3.1 percent from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency in 2020 made Germany’s exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers compared to 2019.

Germany’s biggest export products by value in 2020 were cars, medication mixes in dosage, automotive parts or accessories, blood fractions including antisera, and aircraft plus spacecraft. In aggregate, those major exports accounted for 21 percent of overall export sales from Germany. That percentage suggests a relatively diversified range of exported goods.

Germany is the world leader in exporting cars, drugs and medicines, and automotive parts or accessories. The European nation ranks among the top exporters for international sales of blood fractions including antisera for therapeutic purposes, and aircraft plus spacecraft including aircraft parts.

The latest available country-specific data shows that 66 percent of products exported from Germany were bought by importers in the United States which stands at 8.6 percent of the global total, China at 8 percent, France at 7.5 percent, the Netherlands with 6.5 percent, the United Kingdom with 5.5 percent, Poland with 5.4 percent, Italy with 5 percent, Austria with 4.8 percent, Switzerland with 4.7 percent, Belgium with 3.6 percent, the Czech Republic with 3.3percent and Spain with 3.1 percent.

From a continental perspective, 66.1 percent of Germany’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 19.1 percent were sold to Asian importers. Germany shipped another 10.3 percent worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages of 1.7 percent went to Africa, Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean got 1.4 percent then Oceania led by Australia got 0.9 percent.

Given Germany’s population of 83.2 million people, its total 1.378 trillion dollars in 2020 exports translates to roughly 16,600 dollars for every resident in the European economic hub.

Germany’s Top 10 Exports

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in German global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Germany.

Machinery including computers: 236.3 billion dollars accounting for 17.1 percent of total exports

Vehicles: 211 billion dollars accounting for 15.3 percent

Electrical machinery, and equipment: 151.7 billion dollars accounting for 11 percent

Pharmaceuticals: 97.7 billion dollars accounting for 7.1 percent

Optical, technical, and medical apparatus: 74.5 billion dollars which account for 5.4 percent

Plastics, plastic articles: 60.4 billion which accounts for 4.4 percent

Articles of iron or steel: 28.3 billion dollars which stands at 2.1 percent

Aircraft, spacecraft: 28.2 billion dollars representing 2 percent

Other chemical goods: 27 billion dollars which are 2 percent

Mineral fuels including oil: 26 billion dollars which is 1.9 percent

Germany’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds or 68.3 percent of the overall value of its global shipments.

Pharmaceuticals were the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 8.2 percent from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales were miscellaneous chemical goods via a 3.2 gain.

 percent. 

The leading decliner among Germany’s top 10 export categories was aircraft and spacecraft thanks to its minus 34.7 percent drop year over year.

Germany’s Top 10 Imports

Germany imported 1.172 trillion dollars worth of goods from around the globe in 2020, up by 10.9 percent since 2016 but down by minus 5.2 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Germany uses the euro which appreciated by 2 percent against the US dollar since 2016 and rose by 3.1 percent from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency in 2020 made Germany’s imports paid for in weaker US dollars in 2020 relatively less expensive than in 2019 when converted starting from euros.

German imports represent 6.1 percent of total global imports which totaled an estimated 19.085 trillion dollars one year earlier in 2019. Applying a continental lens, 62.8 percent of Germany’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners satisfied 23.3 percent of import purchases by Germany while 7.9 percent worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from customers in Africa at 1.8 percent, Latin America with 1.2 percent excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania with 0.4 percent led by Australia.

Given Germany’s population of 83.2 million people, its total of 1.172 trillion dollars in 2020 imports translates to roughly 14,100 dollars in yearly product demand from every person in the European republic.

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Germany’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Germany.

Machinery including computers: 149.7 billion dollars accounting for 12.8 percent of total imports

Electrical machinery, and equipment: 149.1 billion dollars which represent 12.7 percent

Vehicles: 122.9 billion dollars which is 10.5 percent

Mineral fuels including oil: 78.4 billion dollars which stands at 6.7 percent

Pharmaceuticals: 65.8 billion dollars which is 5.6 percent

Optical, technical, and medical apparatus: 42.7 billion which is 3.6 percent

Plastics, plastic articles: 42 billion dollars representing 3.6 percent

Organic chemicals: 37.8 billion dollars which is 3.2 percent

Gems, precious metals: 29.2 billion dollars which is 2.5 percent

Iron, steel: 22 billion dollars standing at 1.9 percent

Germany’s top 10 imports accounted for 63.1 percent of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Two product categories increased in total spending from 2019 to 2020, namely gems and precious metals up by 42.9 percent led by gold well ahead of the 12.4 percent gain for pharmaceuticals.

Leading the decliners year over year were imported mineral fuels including oil which is down by minus 28.1 percent, iron, and steel down by minus 19.6 percent and vehicles which is down by minus 10.3 percent.

Germany’s Top Trading Partners

The world’s third largest exporter after China and the United States, Germany shipped 1.378 trillion dollars worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 3.4 percent improvement since 2016 but a minus 7.3 percent drop from 2019 to 2020.

That dollar figure represents roughly 7.4 percent compared to overall global exports estimated at 18.709 trillion dollars one year earlier in 2019.

Applying a continental lens, 66.1 percent of Germany’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 19.1 percent were sold to Asian importers. Germany shipped another 10.3 percent worth of goods to North America.

Smaller percentages of 1.7 percent went to Africa, Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean got 1.4 percent then Oceania led by Australia got 0.9 percent.

Continue watching to see 15 of Germany’s top trading partners. That is countries that imported the most German shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total German exports.

United States: 118.8 billion dollars which account for 8.6 percent of Germany’s total exports

China: 109.8 billion dollars which is 8 percent

France: 103.8 billion dollars representing 7.5 percent

Netherlands: 89.1 billion dollars which is 6.5 percent

United Kingdom: 76.4 billion dollars which accounts for 5.5 percent

Poland: 74 billion dollars which accounts for 5.4 percent

Italy: 69.1 billion dollars which accounts for 5 percent

Austria: 66.7 billion dollars which is 4.8 percent

Switzerland: 64.8 billion dollars which is 4.7 percent

Belgium: 49.4 billion dollars which is 3.6 percent

Czech Republic: 44.9 billion dollars accounting for 3.3 percent

Spain: 42.9 billion dollars which represents 3.1 percent

Hungary: 28.1 billion dollars representing 2 percent

Sweden: 26.7 billion representing 1.9 percent

Russia: 26.4 billion dollars which is 1.9 percent

Over seven-tenths or 71.9 percent of German exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

China reduces its purchases of Germany’s exports by 2.2 percent from 2019 to 2020, ahead of the 1.8 percent increase for Switzerland and the 0.6 percent uptick for Poland.

Reductions ranged from minus 4 percent for importers in the Netherlands up to minus 13.6 percent for the United Kingdom.

 

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