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Germany's record trade surplus may do more harm than good as grumbling grows in the Trump White House/AFP

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Germany reports new record trade surplus in 2016

Germany’s record trade surplus may do more harm than good as grumbling grows in the Trump White House/AFP

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany, Feb 9 – Europe’s largest economy Germany reported a new record trade surplus in 2016, official data showed Thursday, exporting 253 billion euros more than it imported.

Exports added 1.2 percent to top 1.2 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion), while imports climbed 0.6 percent to 955 billion euros, the federal statistics office Destatis said.

The new high is likely to feed criticisms from the US and elsewhere that Germany exports too much and fails to reinvest the proceeds.

US President Donald Trump’s top trade advisor Peter Navarro accused Berlin last month of exploiting a “grossly undervalued” euro to boost its exports.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble agreed that “the exchange rate is too low” in an interview with Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper last weekend, but argued that was a problem for Germany as much as its customers abroad.

Most of Germany’s goods sold abroad were bought by its neighbours in the European Union, accounting for some 708 billion euros, up 2.2 percent on the figures for 2015.

Meanwhile, exports to non-EU countries including the US fell, losing 0.2 percent to reach just under 500 billion euros.

There was a similar picture for imports, with Germany buying 1.8 percent more from fellow EU countries at 633 billion euros, but 1.7 percent less from non-EU members, at 322 billion euros.

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