German exports drop sharply in July as industry stutters

German exports took a nose dive in July, falling 2.6 percent over the previous month in another sign of weakness from Europe's largest economy.

The Federal Statistical Office said Friday that July exports dropped to 97.1 billion euros ($109.7 billion) in seasonally adjusted terms, while imports dropped 0.7 percent to 77.7 billion euros. That narrowed the trade surplus to 19.4 billion euros.

In unadjusted terms, exports were down 10 percent over July 2015.

Following a drop in industrial production reported earlier in the week, ING economist Carsten Brzeski says the data confirms "the former powerful engine of the German economy — industry — is stuttering."

He says "a further cooling of the economy in the months ahead should give more support to just-started discussions about fiscal stimulus."