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German exports regain ground in May, but a long way to go

BERLIN (AP) — German exports regained some ground in May, though the gain was far short of making up for big losses at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, official figures showed Thursday.

Exports were up 9% compared with the previous month, the Federal Statistical Office said. That followed declines of 11.6% in March and 24% in April. Imports rose 3.5% after dropping 5.3% in March and 16.6% in April.

In year-on-year terms, exports were down 29.7% in May, only just short of the 31.1% drop in April.

Germany started easing restrictions on public life on April 20 — earlier than many other European countries — and the process has gathered pace since. However, the German economy, Europe’s biggest, went into a recession in the first quarter that is believed to have deepened in the just-concluded second quarter.

Official data earlier this week showed that factory orders and industrial production picked up in May after sharp drops, but both fell short of expectations — as did exports and imports. Economists had forecast gains of 14% and 12.4% respectively.

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