"Exports are collapsing," headlines Germany daily Die Welt commenting on the latest figures released by the Federal Office of Statistics showing that in May 2013 exports fell to their lowest level in three-and-a-half years, posting a 2.4 per cent drop compared with April 2013, and shrinking 4.8 per cent compared with May 2012.

This decline is explained by the "disarray of global markets," says Die Welt

[On the one hand,] the internal European market, the major outlet for German exports, remains weak and [on the other hand] countries such as China are not compensating for this trend.

Business with the Eurozone, hard hit by the debt crisis, is particularly bad. Exports to the Eurozone plummeted by 9.6 per cent between May 2012 and May 2013, the paper notes.

Given that legislative elections are scheduled for September, Die Welt urges political parties to keep in mind that –

For a long time, the German economy defied the shrinking international economic context. But now that the economy is reviving elsewhere, the economic situation is regressing in a worrisome manner in our country. [...] This does not mean that the German economy will inevitably go into crisis. [...] But the boom is over and it is high time for politicians to take note of this. [...] Income tax reform, as proposed by the opposition, comes at a bad time [...] and the re-establishment of a tax on wealth represents the greatest brake imaginable for small and medium-sized firms.