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Country Forecast Germany July 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Germany July 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 3091872
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • In the September 2017 federal election the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won the largest share of the vote. After six months of negotiations, a renewed grand coalition of the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which saw its vote share slump, was installed in March.
  • The political scene will be less stable in the forecast period (2018-22) than over the previous decade. The SPD will be more vocal, and possible successors to Angela Merkel, who has held the position of chancellor since 2005, will jockey for position. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has entered parliament for the first time, and is now the largest opposition party.
  • Relations with the US, traditionally Germany's most important non-EU partner on the global stage, will be strained while Donald Trump remains US president. The exchange of trade tariffs between the US and EU in June-July is likely to escalate further. For Germany, the economic impact will be marginal, but the fraying of US support for the global rules-based order is a concern.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the new government to take a looser fiscal stance. Tax cuts will be combined with a modest rise in public investment spending, especially on infrastructure and digital technologies. Nonetheless, we expect the budget to remain in surplus throughout 2018-22.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) plans to taper and then end its asset purchase programme this year. In response to building domestic price pressure in parts of the euro zone, we expect the ECB to start to raise rates in 2020.
  • We forecast 2.1% real GDP growth in 2018, reflecting strong expansionary conditions in manufacturing and services, with annual average growth moderating to 1.7% in 2019-22. Domestic demand will drive growth, with the tight labour market gradually feeding through to a rise in wage growth, and intensifying capacity constraints supporting gross fixed capital formation.
  • Inflation will be driven initially by a recent increase in oil prices, followed by stronger wage growth from late 2018, and will average 1.8% in 2018-22.
  • Germany's large-and often controversial-current-account surpluses will persist, although we expect them to decline gradually in 2018-22 as import demand strengthens, from 8% of GDP in 2017 to below 7% of GDP in 2021-22.


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