German finance minister says economy robust

Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, said that despite the financial crisis, fundamental economic data points to a robust economy for Germany and Europe. On Friday Steinbrüch said on Deutschlandfunk that the credit market crisis that burdens the US economy exists in Germany and Europe as well, but the economic European and German fundamentals are robust.

Although Steinbrück said that the turbulence in the financial markets is not over, he said of Germany and Europe’s economic robustness “as before it has to do with good economic development.”

Last year’s 2.5% economic growth is expected to dampen slightly in 2008. In general, Steinbrück proclaims the developments in the German job market to be “as before, pleasing.”

Commentators have pointed to American companies’ reliance on debt financing as a reason for their sensitivity to the credit crisis in the US. German companies’ conservativeness with leverage is one reason observers say Germany might see a slow-down in economic growth, but will probably be spared a recession.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung columnist Gerald Braunberger wrote that in the US “many companies are dependent on credit to expand their production.” He wrote, “in Germany the situation is not so severe” and that there is hardly any sign of a recession for the republic.