The Economist explains: Why the German economy is in a rut

Posted: October 22, 2014 in economy
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IN THE second quarter of this year the German economy shrank by 0.2%. Economists expect it to contract again in the third quarter, meaning that the economy will technically be in recession. Some believe that the economy will not grow until the middle of next year. This performance has taken some people by surprise—the German economy was supposed to be Europe’s powerhouse. What went wrong?The German economy is powered by exports. Its current-account balance (the difference between the money it receives from the outside world and what it spends abroad) is one of the world’s largest, at 7% of GDP. It is an open economy: its ratio of exports to GDP is double China’s. So when Germany’s exports fall by 6%, as they did in August, you know it is bad news. In recent months the global economy has turned against Germany. About 6% of German exports go to China, especially what economists call “capital” goods such as heavy machinery. China’s economy is slowing: in 2010 GDP growth was 10% but this year it will be more like 7%. What is more, China is rebalancing away from investment—which requires capital goods—towards consumption, which does not. Germany has also been hit by slow growth in the 17 other euro-zone countries, where it sends 40% of its exports. To add to this mess, Russia, which takes 3% of Germany’s exports, is facing a full-blown economic crisis as low oil prices and …

via Economic Crisis


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