German economy slowed in 2018 amid signs of global downturn


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany’s economic growth slowed in 2018 to the weakest rate in five years, adding to worries about a global downturn and the impact of trade conflicts.

But government statistics officials, who reported that growth eased to 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent in 2017, said Europe’s dominant economy at least escaped a feared recession in the fourth quarter.

Growth in traditionally export-oriented Germany was supported by rising spending at home by consumers and by the government, the agency said. Unemployment remains low at 3.3 percent and the economy has grown for nine straight years, cushioning the blow from weaker global trade.

The slowdown in Germany has fed fears about the 19-country euro currency union, which in addition to concerns about trade also faces a possibly messy departure by Britain from the European Union. While the U.S. and Europe have imposed some tariffs on each other, the bigger trade war between the U.S. and China has weighed on business confidence globally and hurt some of the big European companies that do business in those countries.

China is Germany’s largest trade partner, measured in terms of trade turnover. It is also the world’s largest car market and supplies much of the profits for Germany’s auto industry, led by Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW.

Not Joking: Biden Will Get Raise After He Leaves the White House, Earn More After Presidency Than During

The European Central Bank has indicated that if the economy worsens it could postpone a first interest rate increase beyond the earliest possible date in the fall of 2019. Some recent market indicators have shown that investors assume rates would stay at current record lows through late 2020.

Worsening economic data had raised fears that Germany may have turned in another quarter of contraction in the fourth quarter, for which figures will be reported Feb. 14. German output fell in the third quarter by 0.2 percent, though the dip was attributed to temporary factors such as bottlenecks registering cars under new emissions testing rules. Two straight quarters of falling output is one definition of a recession.

The statistics agency said there were “signs of a slight recovery” in the fourth quarter compared with the third. Agency official Tanja Mucha said “we are not assuming a minus” in the fourth quarter, but cautioned that the figures are still preliminary.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City