Always Look On The Bright Side Of The Worst Recession In Post-War History

A $256.15 quadrillion zillion stimulus package of their own money taken from them by their government and given back to them as a gift (to be paid back to the government by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and so on should they ever have any) has lifted German spirits.

Berlin

Sort of. But just keep smiling through the Coronavirus stimulus party anyway, Germany.

German consumer morale improved less than expected heading into October, a survey showed on Wednesday, putting a damper on hopes that household spending in Europe’s largest economy will be strong enough to drive a quick recovery from the COVID-19 shock.

The GfK institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, edged up to -1.6 heading into October from an upwardly revised -1.7 in the previous month.

Wouldn’t A 3-Day Work Week Save Even More Jobs?

Personally, I think it’s time to start talking about the 2-day work week. But that’s just me. I’m a visionary or something.

Work

Germany’s biggest union calls for 4-day week to save thousands of jobs – Germany’s automotive and industrial sectors were already undergoing huge structural changes before the pandemic struck. The IG Metall union thinks a shorter working week could now help prevent mass layoffs.

In the upcoming union talks, Hoffman said IG Metall would call for a wage increase for workers, despite the recession.

German Of The Day: Tiefer Fall

That means a steep fall. Very steep in this case. Really, really, really steep already.

Fall

You would have to back in history some ninety years to find a comparable peacetime decline in German economic activity.

But why would anybody want to do that?

Germany’s Economic Slump Shows Scale of Europe’s Challenge – The 10.1% drop in output in the region’s largest economy is a harbinger of worse figures elsewhere. Spain, France and Italy will probably report even deeper contractions on Friday, reflecting a recession that prompted an unprecedented policy response from governments.

Man wird in der Geschichte bis zur Weltwirtschaftskrise vor rund neunzig Jahren zurückgehen müssen, um in Friedenszeiten einen vergleichbaren Sturz der wirtschaftlichen Tätigkeit in Deutschland zu entdecken.

It’s Magic!

It’s as if none of this Corona crap ever happened at all!

Magic

Maybe that’s because none of this Corona crap ever did happen. Not like it was supposed to happen, I mean. Not that anybody ever really knew how it was supposed to happen but everybody knows now that it simply didn’t happen that way. Folks sure got riled up though, didn’t they?

Germany poised for big economic recovery – The German economy is expected to shrink by more than 6% this year. But a new study found the country could be in for a big economic recovery next year.

In a best-case scenario, the economy could recover in about five months, the institute said. This would result in a more mild economic slump of just 3.9% in 2020.

But in a worst-case scenario, the recovery could also take as long as 16 months. The economy could then shrink by 9.3% this year, with growth of 9.5% forecast for 2021.

“In that case, the recovery would stretch into 2022.”

German Of The Day: Rückgang

That means decline.

Spielball

You know. Like the Decline and Fall of the Merkel Empire?

Biggest German industry slump in a decade revives recession fears – German industrial output suffered its biggest fall in December since the recession-hit year of 2009, a shock drop highlighting the weakness in manufacturing that risks dragging Europe’s largest economy into contraction again.

Deutsche Industrieproduktion bricht ein – “Spielball der Weltkonjunktur.”

German Of The Day: Abschwung

That means downturn.

Downturn

German industry hit by biggest downturn since 2009 – Output falls 5.3% in year to October, weighing on eurozone growth outlook.

Germany’s sprawling industrial sector is suffering its steepest downturn for a decade, underlining how the engine of the eurozone’s biggest economy is sputtering.

In der deutschen Industrie geht der Abschwung mit einem schwachen Start ins vierte Quartal weiter. Im Oktober haben die Betriebe ihre Gesamtproduktion erneut deutlich zurückgefahren.

 

Spend More Like We Do

Says the EU. We don’t always know what we’re spending it on but we sure know how to do it.

Waste

As “German industrial orders fell more than expected in August on weaker domestic demand, adding to signs that a manufacturing slump is pushing Europe’s largest economy into recession,” the EU Commission advises Germany to spend more.

And EU knows all about spending other people’s money. It spent nearly four billion euros last year alone on things it can’t even account for – and most of the things it can account for are wasteful enough.

Konjunkturschocks“ – EU-Kommission drängt Deutschland zu mehr Ausgaben

Brewing Has Always Been Big In Germany

An Industrial Crisis Is Brewing in Germany – The country’s position as the “engine of Europe” is under genuine threat.

Germany’s industrial sector contributes more than one-fifth of GDP and is usually a huge asset. Right now this export engine is pulling the economy down. Signs of distress are everywhere. German manufacturing activity is at a decade low, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing manager’s index. The Ifo Institute estimates that more than 5% of manufacturing companies have cut working hours and about 12% expect to do so during the next three months. German machinery orders declined 9% in the first six months of the year, according to the VDMA association, which represents the country’s engineers. In chemicals and pharmaceuticals, domestic production fell 6.5% in the first half of the year, while domestic car output has fallen 12% this year. Auto exports have dropped 14%.

Speaking Of Null…

Zero, that is.

Debt

Germany May Abandon Its Beloved Black Zero – Chancellor Angela Merkel is still clinging to her policy of a balanced budget, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Germany’s economic downturn could soon usher in a return to deficit spending…

For years now, a balanced federal budget, known here in Germany as the “schwarze Null,” or black zero, without any fresh borrowing, has been a permanent fixture of German fiscal policy. After four decades of chronic borrowing to finance the German national budget, the shift stood for the renunciation of the debt state and became a symbol of sound policy. But now the issue is the subject of debate again — not only due to expensive political plans, but also the threat of a recession in Germany…

“We can accomplish the tasks at hand without accruing new debt.”

What Goes Up

Must go flat.

Flat

And then shrink.

Germany’s economy is now shrinking – The mood music had grown so ominous that the shock was somewhat muted. After weeks of dismal survey and industrial-output numbers, it was little surprise to learn on August 14th that Germany’s gdp had contracted by 0.1% in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the previous three months. The economy has been essentially flat over the past year. Household spending, bolstered by wage growth in a tight labour market, has held up but the slump in manufacturing, which represents over one-fifth of output, is deepening. Companies are cutting work hours and issuing profit warnings. Many analysts think Germany is heading for outright recession.

Will the government open the spending taps? Probably not.