New figures show German exports up 5.8 percent in 2012's first quarter over the same period last year, but slowing within the key European Union market and dropping sharply in those European nations worst hit by the financial crisis.

The Federal Statistical Office reported Friday that Germany's exports grew to €276 billion in the first quarter compared to €260.9 billion in 2011's first quarter.

Exports within the European Union grew 2.2 percent to €161.2 billion, and only 0.9 percent to the other 16 countries using the euro currency to €107.4 billion.

Exports to Italy were down 7.6 percent; to Spain down 7.8 percent; to Portugal down 14 percent; and to Greece down 9.8 percent.

Aided by a weaker euro, exports to non-EU countries grew 11.2 percent to €114.8 billion.