It took a long time to get the good news, almost a year. But now they are there: the German economy has finally grown sharply again from April to June, statisticians reported on Friday. After a harsh winter of containment, in which the economy even shrank by 2.1% according to revised data, it has now grown sharply in the second quarter – by 1.5%. But maybe there is little time to be happy. There are new concerns: will the fourth corona wave destroy the beautiful lift?
The numbers are always good, really good. Shops and restaurants are reopening, people are resuming their shopping and eating. They are consuming as they did before the pandemic – and probably even more so, believes Sebastian Dullien of the Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle Research (IMK). In 2020, the Germans saved 100 billion euros more in their accounts than usual: “They now spend part of it to buy a sauna or a new kitchen, for example”, specifies Dullien. According to the Federal Statistical Office, it is mainly private consumption and public spending that have enabled the economy to grow.
Sale of vaccines by Biontech alone means more German economic production
In the industry, things have been going well for a long time, aside from missing parts like chips. Order books are full and German products are in demand around the world. For example in the United States, whose economy could grow by more than six percent this year. Sectors such as pharmaceuticals are booming. The sale of vaccines by Biontech alone means half a percent more of German economic output.
But some entrepreneurs are imagining what the fourth corona wave could do with the highly contagious Delta variant. “Concerns about the growing number of infections weigh on the economy,” observes Clemens Fuest, president of the Ifo Institute. Its business climate index fell in July. Car manufacturers Daimler, Volkswagen and Tesla, for example, are reporting very good deals: VW boss Herbert Diess has just announced a record result, and in the first half of the year, more profits than ever before. been made. But there are concerns for the rest of the year.
If you look at the big picture from the individual fears, the question arises: how bad will the fourth corona wave be for the economy as a whole? No one yet knows how hard the wave will hit the global economy. And as long as three in four German adults are not vaccinated, the risk increases that shops and restaurants will be closed again. This is why unions and professional associations are calling for the vaccine to be injected.
Economics researchers have so far predicted that the economy will grow three to four percent in 2021. IMK Director Dullien now says: “If there is another foreclosure like in winter, it could cost one to two percent growth at most. ” But he doesn’t think so, because any lockdown will likely be less severe. Because companies have learned how to slow infections by working from home, for example. And because no government is considering closing factories, which would be economically devastating.
Enzo Weber of the Institute for the Labor Market and Professional Research also does not expect mass unemployment in a fourth wave: “The labor market will come out of it”. Contrary to what skeptics think, there will not be a surge in corporate bankruptcies.