Exports to the U.S.—Germany’s second-largest overseas market after France—grew 3.5% in the first four months of 2013 compared with the same period last year, according to UniCredit. They fell 1.2% to France and 2% to China, Germany’s fifth-biggest market, raising concerns that they may post their first full-year drop to China since the Asian financial crisis in 1997.…Jens Nagel, an expert at the Berlin-based BGA, which represents around 60,000 German companies active in trade, said he expects exports to the U.S. to swell 15% this year to nearly €100 billion ($130 billion), putting the U.S. near France as the top export destination for German products.
As Germany makes for about one-third of euro zone GDP, America’s ability to help keep German growth steady is a boon to the whole 17-country bloc.From this report, the influence of the US economy abroad is clear: During the first third of 2013, the euro zone as a whole increased exports to the US by 2 percent while its exports to China fell by 3 percent. That China can’t do for Europe at 7.5 percent growth what the US can at 2 percent tells you something about the relative efficacy of the world’s two biggest economies.The more you pay attention to reports like this, the more talk of inevitable American decline and inexorable Chinese ascendancy seem dubious at best.[Image of Euro and Dollar boats courtesy of Shutterstock]