“This means that the trade surplus is already far below its record level to date of 8.4 percent seen in the
second quarter of 2016. The high surplus at that time was due to a sharp drop in the price of oil imports.
Even today, low import prices are still estimated to account for a good 1.5 percentage points of the
trade surplus,” said Timo Wollmershaeuser, Interim Director of the ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys.
“Without the oil price effect Germany’s trade surplus would only be around 6.0 percent,” he added.
At the same time, however, Germany’s current account surplus rose to 8 percent in the first quarter of 2017
from 7.7 percent in the previous quarter. In addition to goods imports and exports, this figure also includes
cross-border services, income from Germany’s net external assets, and Germany’s public transfers abroad.
Macron is not the only leader to criticise Germany’s trade surplus, which has also come under fire from
US President, Donald Trump and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.
The European Commission also considers Germany’s trade surplus to be too high.