The German statistics office said on Friday that German exports tumbled 11.8% last March, the largest decline since the beginning of 1990, as the crisis of the Corona Virus reduced the demand for goods from the largest economy in Europe.
The office said that imports fell 5.1 percent, and that the trade surplus shrank to 12.8 billion euros (13.88 billion dollars) from 21.4 billion euros it reached in the previous month.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to fall 5% and imports 4%. The trade surplus was expected to reach 18.9 billion euros.
The German government expects the economy to contract at 6.3%, the worst performance since World War II, despite a massive stimulus package of 750 billion euros to protect the economy from the impact of the pandemic.
Economists expect that any recovery will be slow, and that the pace of any economic recovery will depend largely on how quickly Germany’s European neighbors and other trade partners like China and the United States emerge from the crisis.