Home News Risks of recession in Germany are growing

Risks of recession in Germany are growing

Risks of recession in Germany are growing

Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, is facing significant challenges that have prompted economists to label it the “sick man of Europe.” The country’s famed economic model, which once drove strong growth for over two decades, is now faltering. Let’s delve into the factors contributing to Germany’s economic struggles.

Germany is on track for its first two-year recession since the early 2000s after its economy shrank in 2023 amid the impact of higher energy costs and weaker industrial demand. The German national statistics office said “multiple crises” affecting the economy had contributed to a 0.3% fall in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023, compared with the previous year, as higher interest rates and elevated living costs took their toll.

Energy Costs and Weaker Industrial Demand: In 2023, Germany’s economy shrank by 0.3%, marking the first contraction since the early 2000s. Higher energy costs and weaker industrial demand played a significant role in this decline. The impact of elevated living costs and higher interest rates took a toll on economic growth.

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Long-Term Issues: Beyond circumstantial factors, longer-term structural issues are affecting Germany’s efficiency. Ageing Population: Rapidly ageing demographics pose challenges for sustained growth. Infrastructure Investment: Lack of recent major investment in infrastructure hampers productivity.

Corporate Tax Rates: High corporate tax rates affect competitiveness. Electric Car Market Competition: China’s growing presence in the electric car market threatens German automakers.

Despite recent price declines, prices remained high at all stages in the economic process and put a damper on economic growth. The German economy did not continue its recovery from the sharp economic slump experienced in the pandemic year of 2020.

Germany’s economy was 0.7% higher in 2023 than in 2019, the year before the pandemic began. However, analysts said Europe’s largest economy was on track for another year of stagnant growth in 2024 at best, with a heightened risk of a second consecutive year of negative output.

Carsten Brzeski, the global head of macro research at the Dutch bank ING, said: “There is no imminent rebound in sight and the economy looks set to go through the first two-year recession since the early 2000s. We expect the current state of stagnation and shallow recession to continue. In fact, the risk that 2024 will be another year of recession is high.”

Germany’s dominant industrial base, excluding construction, fell by 2% over the course of the year, as higher energy costs and dwindling demand at home and from abroad weighed on factory output. Reflecting the impact of higher energy bills and borrowing costs on consumers, household consumption fell 0.8% on the previous year, while government spending fell 1.7%.

As well as having one of the worst performances among advanced economies last year, Germany is expected to experience one of the weakest performers in 2024, with EU forecasts published in November predicting growth of 0.8%. Experts said the country’s economy was in “permanent crisis mode” as supply chain frictions, persistent inflationary pressures, weaker global demand for manufactured goods, and higher interest rates weighed on national output.

The IMF has predicted that Germany will be the weakest of the world’s advanced economies, shrinking by 0.1% this year. Rising prices have dampened demand from households and businesses in Europe’s largest economy.

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