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        Trains laden with German machinery and industrial components depart from Duisburg, Hamburg or Leipzig several times a week bound for markets and manufacturing plants in China.
        Sending goods via the 11,000km trans-Siberian route is much cheaper than air freight and takes a little over two weeks — about twice as fast as shipping the containers by sea. Trains bearing Chinese textiles, electronics and consumer goods journey back the other way.
        As China’s stock market sinks and its economy slows these deep trade links are an increasing source of concern in Germany: Europe’s biggest economy is reliant on exports and has been a particular beneficiary of China’s sustained boom.
         But having expanded by 11 per cent last year, German exports to China increased by a modest 1.4 per cent in the first five months of this year.
        German machinery exports to China fell 5 per cent in the first half of 2015 and Volkswagen and BMW’s car sales in China have started to wane. German auto, engineering and chemical stocks have tumbled.
        Thomas Kargl, chief executive of Far East Land Bridge, a Vienna-based logistics company, says he has not observed a decline in freight volumes on the trans-Siberian route. On the contrary, business increased strongly in the first six months of this year because freight ­customers have become more cost-conscious, he says.
        总部位于维也纳的物流公司Far East Land Bridge的首席执行官托马斯•卡格尔(Thomas Kargl)表示,他并未观察到西伯利亚铁路的货运量出现下降。相反,今年上半年其业务增长强劲,因为货运客户越来越在意成本。
        Nevertheless, Ralph Solveen, an economist at Commerzbank, warned “there can be no doubt that the latest news from China is a concern . . . China’s economic problems have increased the downside risks for the German economy.”
        尽管如此,德国商业银行(Commerzbank)经济学家拉尔夫•左尔文(Ralph Solveen)警告说“最近来自中国的消息无疑值得关注……中国的经济问题加大了德国经济下行风险。”
        German companies were among the first international groups to move into China and have reaped rich rewards. BMW enjoyed a 45 per cent compound annual sales growth rate in China between 2005 and 2012, which made China its largest sales market. At VW, Germany’s largest company by revenues, China accounted for almost 40 per cent of its car sales last year.
        Bilateral trade between Germany and China totalled €154bn in 2014. China is Germany’s fourth-largest export market and some 5,200 German companies are active there.
        “Of course a certain amount of caution is necessary but I don’t see a really dramatic impact on the German economy, in particular because exports to the United States remain strong, and European demand is recovering,” said Tim Gemkow, economist at the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). “Germany is strongly export orientated but those exports are quite well balanced.”
        德国工商总会(DIHK)经济学家蒂姆•格姆科夫(Tim Gemkow)表示:“当然,一定的谨慎是必要的,但我没有真正看到德国经济受到巨大影响,尤其考虑到德国对美国出口仍保持强劲,以及欧洲需求正在恢复。德国是个出口导向程度很深的国家,但这些出口都相当平衡。”
         German companies have been warning about a normalisation of the China market for some time. They have tried to avoid growing too dependent on sales there by expanding in other emerging markets (although many of those are now looking vulnerable, too). Overall, China accounts for 6.5 per cent of total German exports and so some analysts argue the slowdown is manageable.
        Andreas Rüter, Germany chief at AlixPartners, the consultancy, said many German machinery companies had only just started to tap the potential of the Chinese market and therefore they still expected strong growth there in coming years.
        咨询公司艾睿铂(AlixPartners)驻德负责人安德烈亚斯•吕特尔(Andreas Rüter)表示,许多德国机械企业刚开始挖掘中国市场的潜力,因此它们仍预计未来几年在华业务增长强劲。
        “Companies should use this period of slower growth to consolidate and do their homework in China: it’s not just about cost-savings, but also checking up on their suppliers, reporting and governance structures,” he said.
        But some observers worry the export statistics underplay China’s true importance to Germany’s economy — in particular to its automakers, which support a huge number of domestic suppliers. That is because German companies increasingly manufacture and sell locally in China — German direct investment in China totalled $2.1bn last year.
        German carmakers do not provide detailed information on their China earnings. Some analysts estimate they account for between 30 and 65 per cent for German automakers.
       “All the German carmakers have played down the importance of Chinese profitability because of the sensitivities surrounding making so much money out of one market,” Max Warburton at Bernstein Research, said. “The impact of losing China is massive”.
        伯恩斯坦研究公司(Bernstein Research)的马克斯•沃伯顿(Max Warburton)说:“所有德国汽车制造商均淡化在华盈利的重要性,这是因为从一个市场赚取这么多利润涉及的敏感性。失去中国的影响是巨大的。”
        The devaluation of China’s currency means their local sales are now worth less when converted into euros and rising competition from domestic producers has forced German carmakers to slash prices, which puts further pressure on margins.
        Mr Solveen said a marked reduction in Chinese earnings margins would almost certainly prompt companies “to scale down their investment in Germany as well”.
        Any tightening in corporate spending at home would be a problem for Germany as weak rates of business investment are already holding back the recovery. Berlin expects the German economy to expand by 1.8 per cent this year and the same amount next year.
        “A lot of upper middle class Chinese people have lost a lot of money [on the stock market],” said Anton Boerner, president of BGA, the German exporters’ association. “If you lose a lot of money, you don’t buy a Porsche.”
        德国出口商协会——德国外贸和批发商协会(BGA)的主席安东•伯尔纳(Anton Boerner)表示:“中国许多中上阶层群体已经(在股市)损失了很多钱。损失了很多钱的人是不会去买保时捷(Porsche)的。”
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