Germany’s exports rose 14% in 2021 compared with 2020, but the country’s trade surplus fell almost 60% towards the end of the year. 

New data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, published today, show that Germany exported €1.37 trillion of goods in 2021.

The data also show that Germany imported €1.2 trillion of goods in 2021 – an increase of 17% on the previous year. 

However, with Germany’s import growth rising faster than its export growth during H2 2021, the country’s trade surplus took a significant hit.

In July 2021, Germany’s trade surplus stood at €16.8 billion. But in December 2021, after five straight months of declines, Germany’s trade surplus stood at €6.8 billion – a decrease of almost 60%.

Foreign Trade

Major trading partners

In 2021, the majority of German exports went to the US, setting a new record between the two countries.

Germany’s exports to the US increased to €122.1 billion during 2021 – an increase of 18% compared with 2020 – making the US the largest market for German exports once again.

China came in at second, with exports from Germany totalling €103.6 billion in 2021 – an increase of 8.1% on the previous year.

France came in at third, with exports from Germany totaling €102.3 billion in 2021 – an increase of 12.6% on 2020.

Most imports to Germany came from China in 2021, with goods to the value of €141.7 billion imported from there – an increase of 20.8% on the previous year.

The Netherlands ranked second among the most important countries for imports to Germany, accounting for goods to the value of €105.6 billion, which represents a 21.4% increase compared with 2020. 

The US came in at third, with Germany’s imports from that country totalling €72.1 billion – an increase of 6.5%.

Brexit strains UK-Germany trade

The UK lost its place as one of Germany’s five largest trading partners in 2021, as firms grapple with higher costs and red tape following Brexit.

Imports of UK goods into Germany fell 8.5% last year – the first annual decline since Brexit – down to €32 billion.