Germany the Euro winner?

Update: This post from 6/28 has been re-posted today 7/04 as I believe it was lost in last Thursday’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care ACA. Robert Waldmann has also subsequently expressed an opinion on how Germany should proceed.

The NYT carries a data filled op-ed by Gunnar Beck, and takes a stance not widely discussed in media (at least from a quick survey). Assuming the figures are reasonably accurate,   and knowing there are ins and outs to the idea not in the article,  what about it?

…Those who think that Germany has been a winner with the euro almost always rest their case on Germany’s export surpluses. The euro created stability; it eliminated exchange rate risks; appreciated less than the Deutsch mark would have, and thus aided German exports.

But has the euro benefited Germany more than other countries?

According to my calculations, based upon the federal statistics, German exports rose most — by 154 percent — to the rest of the world; by 116 percent to non-euro E.U. members; and least of all, 89 percent, to other euro zone members. In 1998 the euro zone still accounted for 45 percent of all German exports; in 2011 that share had declined to 39 percent.

Between 1995 and 2008, Germany saved more than most, yet it exhibited the lowest net investment rate of all O.E.C.D. countries. On average, from 1995 to 2008, 76 percent of aggregate German savings (private, governmental and corporate) were invested abroad.

There is more of course, so it is worth a visit to see his complete reasoning.

Certainly worth a discussion, and has implications for domestic economic reform in Germany.  Does it have implications for Germany’s needs in the Eurozone?

Update 2: Also see The euro without Germany by Anatole Kaletsky (Inside the Markets, Business section, June 29.

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