The world's second-largest exporter, Germany, has seen demand for its products going down sharply in September. Statisticians say the fall has been the steepest since the end of last year.
German exports in September contracted at their fastest pace since the end of 2011, the German Statistics Office, Destatis, reported on Thursday. The shipment of goods abroad dipped by 2.5 percent from August levels and dropped by 3.4 percent compared with the same month last year.
"The European debt crisis is casting dark shadows on foreign trade," said the president of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), Anton Börner. "German exports slumped at a pace not seen since the peak of the global financial crisis."
Data from the statistics office highlighted the impact of the protracted debt crisis on demand for German goods. Exports to the other 16 members of the eurozone fell by over nine percent year-on-year, while the volume of goods and services delivered to nations outside Europe climbed 1.8 percent.
Battered auto makers
German carmakers were the biggest losers in September. They sold 7.4 percent fewer cars abroad than in the previous month. Engineering companies by contrast fared best, logging a small increase in exports.
German imports dropped to some 75 billion euros (95.8 billion) in September, marking a 3.6-percent fall from levels reached in the same month last year.
The monthly, seasonally adjusted trade surplus, narrowed to 17.0 billion euros, down from 18.1 billion euros in August.