Merkel says "weak" euro is to blame for Germany's trade surplus

 
Helen Cahill
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Merkel and Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz (Source: Getty)

The German chancellor Angela Merkel has fended off criticism over her country's trade surplus, saying that exports are high because the euro is weak.

Several political leaders have complained about Germany's trade surplus, including US President Donald Trump and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

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However, today Merkel said the ECB was to blame for Germany's strong exports, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a school visit in Berlin today, chancellor Merkel said: "The euro is too weak - that's because of ECB policy - and so German products are relatively cheap. So they're sold more."

The euro climbed past $1.12 to a new yearly high after Merkel spoke.

Fawad Razaqzad, market analyst at Forex.com, said: "The pressure is increasing on Mario Draghi and co to tighten monetary policy and speculators are evidently front-running the ECB by buying the euro."

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Germany's trade surplus stood at a record €253bn last year, representing 8.7 per cent of the country's GDP. German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has admitted the surplus is too high, but, like Merkel, has pinned the blame on the ECB.

He told German magazine Der Spiegel:

The president of the ECB has decided on a low-interest policy and is given much international praise for it, from the IMF right up to Macron. But a byproduct of this is that the exchange rate for the euro has fallen, making German products on the global market even cheaper and thus more attractive.

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