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German exports disappoint, imports off sharply in May, adding to expectations of weak quarter

FILE - In this July 9, 2013 file picture an employee checks a steel pipe in the manufacturing hall at Vallourec and Mannesmann in Duesseldorf,�Germany. German industrial production declined significantly in May, a third consecutive drop that suggests slowing growth in China and tensions over Ukraine may be having an impact on Europe's biggest economy. The Federal Statistical Office said Monday July 7, 2014 that production was down 1.8 percent compared with the previous month. In April, it slipped 0.3 percent- revised downward from the initial reading of 0.2 percent growth. (AP Photo/dpa, Caroline Seidel,file)

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FILE - In this July 9, 2013 file picture an employee checks a steel pipe in the manufacturing hall at Vallourec and Mannesmann in Duesseldorf,�Germany. German industrial production declined significantly in May, a third consecutive drop that suggests slowing growth in China and tensions over Ukraine may be having an impact on Europe's biggest economy. The Federal Statistical Office said Monday July 7, 2014 that production was down 1.8 percent compared with the previous month. In April, it slipped 0.3 percent- revised downward from the initial reading of 0.2 percent growth. (AP Photo/dpa, Caroline Seidel,file)

BERLIN - German exports fell more than expected in May while imports dropped sharply, adding to data that point to a weak second quarter for Europe's biggest economy and also pushing up the country's trade surplus.

The Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday that exports were down 1.1 per cent compared with the previous month, a steeper drop than the 0.4 per cent decline economists expected. Imports fell 3.4 per cent.

Germany's May trade surplus was 18.8 billion euros ($25.6 billion), up from 17.7 billion euros in April.

Germany's economy grew a robust 0.8 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period, but disappointing recent data have fed expectations of slower second-quarter growth.

Factory orders and industrial production in May were below expectations amid slowing growth in China and tensions over Ukraine.

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