This guide provides an overview of the German economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports.
Germany Economy Overview
As the fourth-largest economy in the world, Germany’s exports are worth $1.5 trillion and it has a positive trade balance of $305 billion (after taking into account imports worth $1.2 trillion).
The country is divided into 16 mainly autonomous states with each one having its own constitution. Germany is also a country with a high level of natural resources, mainly coal, copper, natural gas, nickel, and uranium.
It is one of the dominant manufacturers in the world of cars, boats, and a number of electronic products.
Germany’s Top Exports
Here is a breakdown of the most important products exported by Germany, both commodities and other notable exports.
- Refined petroleum – $13.9 billion
- Iron fasteners – $6.85 billion
- Other iron products – $8.85 billion
- Aluminum plating – $5.81 billion
- Petroleum gas – $5.66 billion
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Other Notable Exports
- Cars – $156 billion
- Vehicle parts – $68.1 billion
- Packaged medicaments – $55.9 billion
- Planes, helicopters, and/or spacecraft – $30.9 billion
- Blood, antisera, vaccines, toxins, and cultures – $29.7 billion
Cars represent 10.3% of Germany’s total exports.
Germany’s Top Export Destinations
- United States – $132 billion
- France – $121 billion
- China – $109 billion
- Netherlands – $93.6 billion
- United Kingdom – $93.4 billion
Germany’s Top Imports
Here is a breakdown of the most important products imported by Germany, both commodities and other notable imports.
- Crude petroleum – $32.4 billion
- Refined petroleum – $24.4 billion
- Petroleum gas – $14.6 billion
- Cheese – $4.38 billion
- Coal briquettes – $3.68 billion
Other Notable Imports
- Cars – $68.7 billion
- Vehicle parts – $44.1 billion
- Packaged medicaments – $27.6 billion
- Broadcasting equipment – $22.3 billion
- Computers – $19.2 billion
GDP of Germany
Between 2008 and 2018, Germany’s GDP grew by 5.83%.
Details on Germany’s Imports/Exports
Germany’s annual gold exports of around $4.67 billion represent a 1.53% share of the world gold export markets. Switzerland is the leading country by some margin, controlling 20.0% of total gold exports.
Germany is among the top 20 largest exporters of petroleum gas and its annual exports of $5.66 billion represent a 1.89% market share of the global petroleum gas market.
Only one major exporter of petroleum gas has increased the value of its exports in the last five years – the USA, who has managed to almost double its export output in that period.
By comparison, Germany has remained stable with its petroleum gas exports, whereas Russia has declined by 94% in the last five years.
Germany ranks 8th in the world with regard to silver exports, taking 6.19% of the global export market, with Mexico, the marginal market leader of silver exports, taking a 9.89% market share.
Total trade of $18.3 billion made silver the world’s 201st most traded product in 2018. Silver exports decreased by -1.3% from $18.5 billion in 2017.
Austria and Switzerland are key export destinations for Germany’s refined petroleum, accounting for 39% of their annual output. They are followed by the Netherlands, Czechia, and Poland, who combined take almost 30% of Germany’s refined petroleum exports.
Interesting Facts About Germany
- Germany is a major exporter of trunks and cases with an annual export value of $1.59 billion
- One-third of Germany is covered in forests and woodlands.
- It’s one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
- Germany shares its borders with nine other countries.
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Sources and Further Reading
- All figures are based on OEC 2018 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.
- Learn more about the state of world government debt from our country debt clock pages.
- See our global economic indicator guide to more than 45 other countries.
- Get our full guide to trading commodities.