Weakening exports and slowing global growth are dragging Germany's economy
16 August, 2019, 16:32
The development of foreign trade dragged economic growth as exports logged a stronger quarter-on-quarter decline than imports. On an annual basis, Germany'seconomy grew only 0.4 percent in the year ending June - the slowest rate in six years.
-China trade conflict, Germany has also been affected by the U.K.'s endless Brexit drama, which has caused investment to collapse in one of Germany's biggest export markets over the last three years. "However, under the surface of these impressive headline numbers, a worrisome trend has emerged-since 3Q 2018, the economy has been in a de facto stagnation, with quarterly GDP growth at an average of zero percent".
"Trade conflicts, global uncertainty and the struggling automotive sector have finally brought (it). down on its knee".
The GDP of the Euro area fell from 0.4% in the first quarter to 0.2% in the second quarter.
Uncertainty over the terms of Britain's planned exit from the European Union has also weighed on confidence more generally - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said his country will leave the European Union on October 31, with or without a divorce deal to smooth the path to the new trading relationship.
The German economy is much more globalized than the rest of the world, according to Capital Economics. "We can avoid that if we take the right measures".
The once-unassailable export machine that is Germany saw output fall 0.1pc in the second quarter from the first, and that means its economy posted its slowest growth in six years in the first half of 2019, at just 0.4pc, according to data released on Wednesday. On the year, the economy still grew by 0.4%, calendar and seasonally adjusted.
In an usual move, the powerful BDI industry association joined the growing chorus of voices demanding that the German government ditch its balanced budget rule.
Europe's foremost fiscal hawk, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, insists that domestic demand remains robust, as the German economy still enjoys record-high employment, inflation-busting pay hikes and low borrowing costs.
He added: "The bottom line is that the German economy is teetering on the edge of recession".
The gloomy data has sparked talk of fiscal stimulus from Berlin, but German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she did not see any need for a stimulus package. Instead, the government announced limited tax cuts, removing the Soli income tax surcharge for most employees from 2021, a relief worth €11bn that will take place in 16 months time.
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