German imports exceeded exports in 2021 trade with Russia - stats office

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FILE PHOTO - Containers are seen at the loading terminal Altenwerder in the harbour of Hamburg, Germany February 3, 2016. Picture taken February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

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BERLIN, March 3 (Reuters) - German imports from Russia exceeded exports last year because prices for imported crude oil and natural gas had risen sharply, Germany's Federal Statistics Office reported on Thursday.

In the prior year, Germany had attained its first export surplus with Russia since 1993, the office added.

The trade data highlight Germany's reliance for energy on Russia, which supplies more than a third of Europe's gas. read more

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The chief executive of German utility Uniper (UN01.DE) earlier this year pegged Russia's share of Germany's gas supply at half, although this can fluctuate from month to month.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Wednesday that Germany is prepared should Russia stop exporting gas to the country, Europe's largest economy.

Germany's overall export surplus dropped by 4.2% to 172.9 billion euros in 2021 on a year earlier, the fifth consecutive year the surplus was down, the office said.

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Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Miranda Murray

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