German exports fell in January, official figures showed on Friday, as bottlenecks and coronavirus-related health restrictions stifled Europe’s biggest economy.
The value of exports fell 2.8% from the previous month, according to figures from the federal statistics agency Destatis, but was still 7.5% higher than the same month last year.
In total, the traditionally export-heavy country shipped 116.9 billion euros ($128.9 billion) worth of goods in the first month of the year.
Meanwhile, imports fell faster than exports, down 4.2% to a total value of 107.5 billion euros.
In January, companies continued to deal with the same widespread supply difficulties that have plagued the industry throughout 2021.
The economy ended the year on a bearish note, down 0.3%, with the German central bank expecting another fall in the first quarter of 2022, plunging the country into recession.
Production could decline “significantly”, the Bundesbank said in mid-February, as manufacturing industries competed with a “serious” shortage of raw materials and components, as well as pandemic restrictions.
The prediction was made before Russian troops moved into Ukraine, dealing another blow to economic prospects and causing further supply disruptions.
The latest set of figures from Destatis shows that exports to Russia increased significantly between December and January, rising 14.4% to 2.6 billion euros in the first month of the year.
Imports from Russia also rose 18.9% to 3.9 billion euros in January, before sanctions were put in place in response to the invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Since then, several major German companies have announced the suspension of their business activities in Russia, including car groups Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.