Germany is being warned by the EU for their balance of trade. The new economic early warning system notes that the balance of trade surplus of 6% – and more is threatning the stability of the European continent.
Commissioner Olli Rehn published in February the first analisys of the imbalances in Europe. In spite of Germany last year exporter far more goods and capital than they imported, the greatest EUR economy escaped official proceedings. The reason is that the EU-Commission relates the balance of trade to the GDP and uses a three year average. Germany ended on 5.9% a whisker shy of the limit of 6%.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung adds:
Government spokesperson Steffen Seibet points out that the debate on the global imbalances is more directed towards countries with large trade deficits and pitiful competiveness. A surplus alone is not a reason for European action. It would be wrong to limit exports artificially. ”A trade balance surplus is not in itself a reason for European action”, he says. It would serve the purpose better, if countries with weaknesses would improve their competitiveness.
Talk about one obnoxious smug bastard!
There are points in this:
- Germany has never been afraid of importing, if the price and quality is right – this means that the situation for economically challenged EU countries is far from hopeless: There IS a huge market in Germany if they can get their act together. If not in any other sense then as suppliers to all the nice fat orders German companies hustle up.
- This puts the German reaction to the US presidential candidates complaints (one area where they are in total agreement: It is Europe’s fault!) into perspective. The German answer to the US laments is briefly: “Crisis? What crisis??? Now move over, we are making money hand over fist! We have delivery schedules to meet – and are 15 seconds late as it is!”
- The EUR indeed serves the German purpose: A currency cannot be a reserve currency, if it is from a country with persistent balance of trade surpluses – in this context the debt and deficits of some EU and EUR members furnished the desired deficit and debt.
This makes all the bank pundits speculations on the future of the EUR rather amateurish – of course Germany will help and lend money to distressed partners – provided they grant recourse so repayment can be secured. What Germany will not allow is for the banks to drag the economies of their partners into the quack mire.
There such things as positive problems.