Monday, 18 April 2011

Germany still makes things and it's growing as fast as China

Now who'd have believed that one of the Western economies hit by the economic downturn is now growing so fast that the European Central Bank is going to impose yet another interest rate rise to prevent the economy from overheating. Germany is the shining star. Because it still manufactures, on a large scale. Think of their brands and businesses - Volkswagen, Mercedes, BASF, Bayer... all very successful companies which have weathered a number of  storms over the decades. Not least the most recent recession which affected all sectors, but particularly automotive, construction and manufacturing - all markets that these companies supplied.

Germany's return to industrial growth is only recent - according the the FT 'German industrial growth was similar to that of other big western European economies during the last cycle' I presume that means when the stats were last run, which you'd assume was either quarterly or annually - either way... growth is growth - and it's against the odds.

According to the FT, Germany's industrial production is growing at an annual rate of 14.8% which is almost identical to China's 14.9% growth. The US equivalent statistic is 5.8% and France 5.6%.


Like China, Germany’s growth is reliant on exports. The FT warns though, like China’s, it brings with it the risk of overheating. "Wholesale prices are inflating at 10.9 per cent per year, the most since October 1981." This "evidence of unhealthy price pressures" is why the European Central Bank has started raising interest rates before the US or the UK.

Whatever the fiscal analysis may be - I think it's great that the Germans are pulling this off. It shows... it still pays to make things. And, although we don't manufacture in primary production (farming) - we do produce a saleable commodity or value-added goods which is why, in commercial terms, I think it's a cracking industry to be in. 

Please note - these are my thoughts and comments with some reference to editorial run in the FT (see FT.com) on 14th April 2011. 

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