The current account surplus is expected to be about 8% of GDP in 2016, as lower oil
prices limit the import bill and euro depreciation boosts exports.
The current account surplus vis-à-vis other euro area countries has also risen since 2013 reflecting the gradual
recovery of activity in the euro area , although it remains substantially lower than
before the global economic and financial crisis.
There is, however, no mono-causal
explanation to the German current account surplus. There are a variety of underlying
transitory factors, in particular, real exchange rate effects and low commodity prices as
well as more fundamental factors such as the ongoing demographic change, the widening
gap between productivity in manufacturing and services (Coricelli, Ravasan and Wörgötter,
2013) and a substantial increase in net foreign assets and related revenues.
The large surplus reflects in part the reversal of the saving-investment balance in the corporate and
government sectors. The remarkable increase in the saving-investment balance
of the corporate sector reflects subdued growth in non-residential investment, which has
not kept pace with higher profits.
Household saving is high and has increased somewhat
since the early 2000s, as households raised precautionary saving in response to low growth
and high unemployment in the early half of 2000s and to reductions in public pension
entitlements (Deutsche Bundesbank, 2015).