Ifo calculations

Germany is Capital Export World Champion, Overtakes China

It looks like a lot but breathe easy, Germany's surplus with other euro zone countries is falling. Source: AP Photo / Fabian Bimmer

Germany once again emerged as capital export world champion in 2016, according to preliminary calculations by the Munich based economic research institute Ifo. Germany’s current account surplus is expected to have totaled $297 billion (€268 billion ) in 2016, compared with $271 billion in 2015. China ranks second with an anticipated current account surplus of $245 billion.

Germany’s current account surplus is expected to have risen to 8.6 percent of its annual economic output in 2016, versus 8.3 percent in 2015, research institute Ifo said. The E.U. sees a maximum figure of 6 percent as sustainable in the long term.

“The federal government shares the view of the European Commission that the German current account surplus has to be assessed as high – but it doesn’t represent an excessive imbalance,” an economy ministry spokeswoman said on Monday according to Reuters news agency, adding that Germany’s surplus with other euro zone countries had halved over the past eight years.

At 2.8 percent, exports in Germany are expected to grow somewhat more strongly this year than in 2016, according to the official government forecast presented by Sigmar Gabriel last Wednesday during his last press conference as Germany’s economics minister. But because imports, at 3.8 percent, are growing faster than exports, the current account surplus will decline this year, said Mr. Gabriel.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission have all criticized Germany’s high surpluses in the past and Mr. Gabriel’s numbers should appease them.

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