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Konjunktur ohne Schwung. Die ersten Ergebnisse der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung für Deutschland für das dritte Quartal 2002

Press Release of November 13, 2002

Contrary to former expectations, the economic development has not exhibited any dynamism after the second quarter of this year. According to provisional calculations real GDP has increased by 0.3% compared to the previous quarter, which means an increase by 1.1% compared to the previous year. In the current weekly report 46/2002 the DIW Berlin forecasts stagnant growth for real GDP in the fourth quarter of this year. Compared to the previous year this means an increase of only 0.5%.
There has been a robust development in exports, while domestic demand has been weak. Above all private consumption has been sluggish. Private consumption stagnated (0.1%) after a brief increase in the second quarter (0.3%) and the passive attitude towards consumption continued. However, investments in new equipment increased slightly after a constant decrease since the end of 2000. Investments in buildings showed smaller losses than in the first half year. It was above all the positive net trade in goods and services which contributed to an expansion of national production.

The decrease in the number of orders in industry indicates a weakening of growth in the last quarter of 2002. Foreign orders decreased by 3.8% compared to a plus of 4.7% in the second quarter of this year. Domestic orders also decreased further (0.5%). Therefore, manufacturing will not positively affect the German economy in the last quarter of this year. This is particularly true for investments in new equipment. In this field orders decreased by 1.2% after an increase of 2.6% in the previous quarter. Investments in buildings will show a positive development in the fourth quarter of this year, which is mainly due to clearing-up operations after the flood catastrophe.

The situation on the labour market will remain difficult. Economic growth is not sufficient to trigger employment growth. This development is bound to put a heavy strain on private consumption. Although an increase in collectively agreed wage will help boost wages and salaries; consumers will, in the face of further charges in income, shift from consumption to saving in the next year. Exports will further decrease in the last quarter of the year - a development already indicated by the decrease in foreign orders.