The Euro zone’s two largest economies and their exchange traded funds (ETFs) have fallen on hard times as consumption both abroad and at home are down.

Germany, the world’s biggest exporter of goods, reports that its unadjusted exports declined 23.1% and imports diminished 16.4% for the year in February, reports Paul Carrel for Reuters UK. The reduced domestic demand resulted in a 3.5% drop in manufacturing orders for the month of February.

It appears that the German economy has been hit with its worst recession since World War II. The German GDP contracted 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2008, and analysts are projecting a greater contraction in the first few months of this year. Economists estimate a 4.4% drop in GDP for the year.

  • iShares MSCI Germany Index (EWG): down 16.9% year-to-date


Compared to the previous year, French imports and exports both plummeted. It is calculated that French exports plunged 20.9% year-over-year. The masses are consuming less and companies are loath to invest.

The Bank of France projects the French economy to contract 0.8% in the first quarter. It was revised from a previous contraction of 0.6%. Analysts are estimating a minimum of a 1% drop in the first quarter.

iShares MSCI France Index (EWQ): down 14.7% year-to-date


Combined, German and French exports amounted to 45% of the Euro zone’s exports last year.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.