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German exports to China decline in January despite lifting of lockdown

Cargo ship 'Cosco Shipping Gemini' of Chinese shipping company Cosco is loaded at the container terminal 'Tollerort' in the port in Hamburg

BERLIN (Reuters) - German exporters' hopes of a revival in trade with China after Beijing abruptly dismantled its strict "zero-COVID" policy in December failed to materialise at the start of the year, federal statistics office data showed on Tuesday.

Exports to China fell by 7.1% in January compared with the same month last year, to 7.4 billion euros ($7.90 billion).

By comparison, exports to the United States grew by 20.8% to 12 billion euros, with the world's largest economy retaining its place as the most important customer for goods made in Germany.

After three years of strict pandemic restrictions in China during which factories and ports in the world's second-largest economy closed down, German exporters had hoped for a stronger start to 2023 with the country's most important trading partner.

While goods worth around 298 billion euros were traded between the two countries last year, exports of German goods to China increased by only 3.1%, to around 107 billion euros.

Germany, on the other hand, imported goods worth 191 billion euros from China, a third more than in 2021.

Overall, Germany had a trade deficit with China of around 84 billion euros in 2022, a situation that German Finance Minister Christian Lindner called a "dangerous development".

($1 = 0.9369 euros)

(Reporting by Rene Wagner, Writing by Miranda Murray, editing by Ed Osmond)