BERLIN (Reuters) -German exports rose unexpectedly in April, boosted by deliveries to China following its post-pandemic reopening, but analysts warned that the momentum could be short-lived.
German exports increased by 1.2% on the previous month, the federal statistics office said. A Reuters poll had predicted a month-on-month decline of 2.5%.
April's increase follows a revised 6.0% plunge in exports the previous month. "The increase is not nearly enough to make up for the sharp decline of the previous month," said Alexander Krueger, chief economist at Hauck Aufhaeuser Lampe bank.
Exports to China were up 10.1%, while exports to the U.S. were up 4.7% and exports to the European Union rose 4.5%, the office said.
"This is a strong start to the second quarter for net exports, but we doubt it will be enough to provide a boost to GDP growth," Pantheon Macroeconomics' chief euro zone economist Claus Vistesen said. "The upturn in net exports, which helped GDP growth in 4Q and 1Q, is now petering out."
Imports fell by 1.7% compared with March, versus analysts' expectations for a 1.0% fall.
The foreign trade balance showed a surplus of 18.4 billion euros ($19.68 billion) in April, up from 14.9 billion euros the previous month.
Despite April's increase in exports, the outlook remains clouded.
"The temporary push in exports to China will fade with time," ING's global head of macro at ING Carsten Brzeski told Reuters. He added that exports to China would also suffer on the back of geopolitical changes.
Germany exported goods in the value of 8.5 billion euros to China and of 13.1 billion to the U.S., this being the main export partner of the euro zone's largest economy.
"The U.S. economy is slowing down and that will have an impact in our exports," Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, told Reuters.
Sentiment among German exporters fell in May to its lowest level since November 2022, an Ifo survey showed.
"The German export economy lacks momentum," said Klaus Wohlrabe, head of surveys at Ifo.
The statistics office publishes more detailed economic data on its website.
($1 = 0.9348 euros)
(Reporting by Rachel More and Maria Martinez, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Gareth Jones)