Exports from Germany, Europe's biggest economy, were sharply lower in November compared with the previous month amid economic weakness elsewhere in the euro zone.

The Federal Statistical Office said today that exports - a traditional strength of the German economy - dropped 3.4%.

Adjusted for seasonal and calendar factors, they totalled €89.6 billion. Imports were down 3.7% at €75.1 billion.

Growth in Germany slowed in 2012 after two strong years, but the economy is expected to pick up after a weak fourth quarter and continue growing in 2013. Compared with a year earlier, exports were unchanged in November.

A 5.7% decline in exports to other countries in the 17-nation euro zone contrasted with a 5.6% increase in those to nations outside the European Union.