The corona numbers are falling, public life is awakening, people are catching up on what they have been deprived of for a long time: Economists are assuming a billions in consumption that is now disappearing.
Kiel / Berlin / Essen (dpa) - According to economic researchers, the German economy is facing a strong upswing.
After the deep Corona recession in 2020 and the renewed emergency braking at the beginning of 2021, the economic engine should not start with the "oomph" hoped for by Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz - but rather ignite in two stages, as several research institutes reported in their current forecasts.
Initially, only private consumption is essential.
In industry, due to the significant disruptions in the global supply chains, things will only run smoothly in the second half of the year: The manufacturing industry is sitting on bulging order books, but often cannot process orders due to supply bottlenecks in raw materials and intermediate products.
Delay in industry
“For the time being, however, the recovery in industry will be delayed. The strong global recovery has brought with it complex delivery bottlenecks that noticeably hinder the production of many companies, ”says the IfW. Despite the very good order situation, production in the manufacturing sector will "therefore probably only gradually return to its recovery course in the second half of the year". In addition, the demand for the assessment of Dekabank's chief economist Ulrich Kater is increasingly meeting the limits of their capacities, which are likely to have shrunk in the pandemic.
Overall, however, the expectations of the economic researchers are consistently positive: “German economy with late spring awakening,” says DIW in Berlin. The economic chief of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), Stefan Kooths says: "The German economic boiler is under steam." , Torsten Schmidt.
In 2020, the number four in the world economy collapsed by 4.8 percent as a result of the corona pandemic.
The IfW now expects economic growth of 3.9 percent for 2021 (March forecast: 3.7).
The DIW believes the largest European economy will grow by 3.2 (previously: 3.0) percent - and the RWI increased its expectations to 3.7 (3.6) percent.
Only the Munich-based Ifo Institute had reduced it to 3.3 (3.7) percent the day before - and in doing so brought the braking effects of the delivery bottlenecks to the fore.
Forecast: Significantly stronger growth in 2022
For 2022, all researchers are assuming significantly stronger growth in gross domestic product (GDP): The forecasts are between 4.3 percent (Ifo and DIW) and 4.7 (RWI) or 4.8 percent (IfW). The German labor market, which is booming before Corona, should, according to the forecasts - measured in terms of employment and unemployment figures - tie in with the pre-crisis year 2019 in the coming year.
In private households, the repeatedly necessary lockdowns with closings of retail stores, fitness studios or cinemas, for example, have led to a huge consumption congestion, which has led to unprecedented savings: “Compared to a scenario in which the savings rate would have remained at its pre-crisis level According to our forecast, the purchasing power that has built up in the past and this year combined will be around 200 billion euros or 10 percent of disposable income (in 2019), ”write the IfW economic researchers.
The state support services - for example the VAT cut in the second half of 2020 as well as monetary social benefits such as short-time working allowance - have largely pent up so far.
With the successive relaxation of the corona measures, public life is now awakening - and the money withheld from households is rolling towards retailers, service providers and restaurateurs.
The IfW expects that private consumer spending will increase by 2.4 percent in 2021 and by as much as 8.2 percent in 2022 - with an uncertainty factor: "It is still unclear how much of the purchasing power that has pent up in the meantime will be used for additional private consumer spending."
All forecasts "on shaky legs"
In addition, it is far from clear whether the corona situation will continue to ease. All forecasts are "on shaky feet as long as the corona pandemic is not contained sustainably," emphasized the DIW. "The service sectors in particular are now benefiting from the easing measures," said his economic expert Claus Michelsen. "Only when the vaccination rate is so high that at least approximately herd immunity has been achieved will we experience a sustained upswing."
Ultimately, it also remains open how the transport situation in international maritime transport will develop, which many companies consider to be a stumbling block on the way out of the corona crisis. The pandemic has long messed up the route plans on the maritime arteries around the globe. The day-long traffic jam in the Suez Canal - triggered by the accident of the container freighter "Ever Given" in March - additionally impaired the already tense supply chains.
The latest problem was a corona outbreak in China, which is forcing shipping companies to change plans in the huge port of Yantian in the Chinese province of Shenzen.
In view of this situation, well-known industrial associations had drawn attention to the deterioration in reliability and quality in container shipping, especially on the routes between Asia, North America and Europe, in a fire letter to the federal government.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210617-99-34423 / 3