RTTNews - German exports showed a slight increase in May, strengthening hopes for a recovery in the recession-hit economy.

Calendar and seasonally adjusted exports rose 0.3% month-on-month in May after a 5% fall in April and a 0.3% increase in March, data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed Thursday. However, the increase was less than the 1.5% rise forecast by economists. On an annual basis, overseas sales slumped 24.5%, extending the declining trend that started in November 2008.

On the other hand, imports continued its downtrend for the second month after a slight increase in March. Imports fell 2.1% month-on-month following a sharper decline of 6% in April. Compared to the previous year, imports dropped 22.6%, the seventh straight decline.

As the fall in imports exceeded exports, it is expected that the biggest burden on growth of the German economy has gone, Commerzbank analyst Simon Junker said.

In the coming months, the foreign trade climate should increasingly stabilize and the demand for German exports is set to rise again slightly, Junker said.

The foreign trade balance in May showed a surplus of EUR 9.6 billion, down from EUR 14.5 billion surplus in the same month of the previous year, but a slight increase from EUR 9.4 billion surplus recorded in April. Upon calendar and seasonal adjustment, the foreign trade balance recorded a surplus of EUR 10.3 billion.

According to provisional results of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the current account of the balance of payments showed a surplus of EUR 3.7 billion in May, down from EUR 8.1 billion surplus recorded in the previous year. It comprised of deficits of EUR 0.9 billion in services trade, EUR 3 billion in net factor income, EUR 0.9 billion in current transfers and EUR 1.2 billion in supplementary trade items.

Wednesday, the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research said the Eurozone is still in recession and economic prospects remain subdued, but the contraction of activity is likely to be less sharp in the coming quarters.

The think tank forecast euro area GDP to fall real 0.6% in the second quarter and by 0.4%, respectively, in the third and fourth quarter.

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