Pandemic tears ‘striking hole’ in German economy

A waiter looks on at the entrance of a restaurant in the old town of Duesseldorf Germany, 20 January 2022. [EPA-EFE / SASCHA STEINBACH]

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far cost the national economy €350 billion, new data published on Sunday by the German Economic Institute shows. Meanwhile, the government lowered its growth forecast for 2022.

According to the institute’s analysis, the bulk of the country’s economic losses since the start of the pandemic have been due to a slump in private consumer spending. Consumers have spent less on activities like outdoor dining and cultural events due to lockdown measures and cautious behaviour, the study’s authors explained.

The pandemic also impacted investments. Researchers estimated that without the pandemic, companies would have invested an extra €60 billion in the past two years.

“The recovery will take years”, the paper reads, adding that, even if 2022 turns out to be a strong year, the pandemic will leave a “marked gap” in Germany’s economic performance.

Apart from shrunken consumption and investments, interruptions in global value chains have significantly impacted as additional border controls impeded imports and exports.

On Friday, the government significantly lowered its growth forecast for 2022.

While the government had hoped for a strong economic recovery this year, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said he now expects GDP to only grow by 3.6%, compared to previous estimates of more than 4%.

(Julia Dahm | EURACTIV.de)

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