Correspondent in BerlinUpdated:
The German export data is key in the construction of the GDP data, so there were many views on this figure, which finally defeats the optimistic forecasts. German sales abroad during the month of February they have fallen 1.3% with respect to the previous month, 2.8% when compared with February 2018, and the fall abounds in the already long list of indicators that speaks of a year of paralysis for the European engine. Analysts did not expect the fall to be more than 0.5% and the Federal Statistical Office.
The data corresponds without a doubt to that order orders from abroad fell by 6% in February. Imports contracted by 1,%, more than double what was expected. All together, German companies have sold abroad so far this year. 217,000 million euros, taking a bite of the trade balance that will undoubtedly please Donald Trump, who is so critical of the German trade surplus, but who threatens to paralyze a key economy for the European balance in a global context of deceleration. The forecast of the Chamber of Foreign Trade is an increase of 3.7% for the whole year 2019 that for now faces a difficult compliance.
In an economy based on exports, in addition, the shock wave will affect many other indicators and, of course, employment. According to the calculations of IW Consult, in 2017, 25% of jobs in Germany depended on exports of the companies; 20 years ago, it was just under 18 percent. Overall, 11.2 million jobs were attributable to exports in 2017 (5.1 million direct jobs and 6.1 million in supplier companies of exporters) compared to 1997, when Germany had only 6.7 million jobs directly related to their exports, which represents an increase of 67% in the last two decades. The conclusion is that two-thirds of the increase in the labor force that has maintained the stability of the German economy in the last 20 years is due to the good health of exports.
The German vendors abroad are the manufacturers of machinery, automobiles and chemical products, sectors that go through special moments of weakness due to the loss of prestige caused by the scandal of diesel engines and the multiple lawsuits it faces in the United States. German chemistry Bayer for the relationship of glyphosate with cancer disease. In addition to these obvious damages to the Made in Germany, Germany suffers the global context of uncertainty for the Brexit and the commercial wars, but the German employers also attribute part of the blame to the government of the grand coalition.
The discontent of family businesses, a sector of weight in the German economy, has reached such an extreme that Federal Association of your employers he has refused to invite the Minister of Economy, Peter Altemeier, to the traditional annual meeting, a celebration in which the 70th anniversary of its foundation is celebrated. Its president, Reinhold von Eben-Worlée, has publicly accused him this weekend of "harming the economy and the Ministry" in an interview. «Serious mistakes», "Total failure", are some of the expressions he used.
Among the main complaints of family businesses, among which are firms such as Miele, Trumpf or Dr. Oetker, and that also share the big German companies, is the announced electric summit that has not yet taken place and the pressure of the minister to increase social contributions. "The increase in renewable energy plants has catapulted Germany to the top of global competitors in terms of energy costs. The electricity bills are getting out of hand without saving even a single gram of CO2 and it is time for politicians to recognize before citizens that the energy policy of this government has failed, "complains von Eben-Worlée.
Before knowing the size that the braking of exports is taking, the five German economic institutes had already warned that GDP will grow this year less than half of the rate previously forecast. The forecast is at 0.8% in 2019, while in September they anticipated a growth of 1.9%. "The size of the obstacles to national production and the extent of the slowdown in the world economy were underestimated," the experts have justified. «The danger of a pronounced recession with several quarters of contraction it is low if the political risks are not intensified, but Germany would suffer a great impact if there were an escalation of commercial conflicts and a Brexit without agreement, since the United States and the United Kingdom are two of its most important trading partners. "