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ECONOMY

German economy to be overtaken by 2060

Germany's importance as an economic player will decline significantly by 2060 as its population grows older and in the face of China and India's rapid growth, the OECD has reported.

German economy to be overtaken by 2060
Photo: DPA

Germany’s days as the fifth largest economy in the world are numbered, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released on Friday.

Germany’s economy – currently only behind the USA, China, Japan and India in terms of size, is set be surpassed by Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Britain and Russia, by 2060, predicted the organisation.

According to the OECD, the main reason for the slump in Germany’s share of world economic performance – which will drop from 4.8 percent today to 2 percent in 50 years’ time – is demographic change, as its population grows older – a phenomenon also due to hit Japan on a large scale.

China, set to overtake the USA in four years as the world’s biggest economy, helped by a population of over 1.3 billion, has already this year contributed more to the world economy than all eurozone countries combined. By 2060 India will also have overtaken Europe, said OECD.

The organisation hopes this “shift of economic weight towards low wage countries” will help raise living standards in the poorest areas of the world. Per capita income is expected to quadruple in the world’s most impoverished nations by 2060, narrowing the current gap between the living standards of the world’s richest and poorest people.

“Courageous structural reforms can stimulate growth and improve living conditions everywhere in the world,” said OECD General Secretary Angel Gurría.

DPA/The Local/jlb

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ECONOMY

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine is slowing down the economy and accelerating inflation in Germany, the Ifo Institute has claimed.

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

According to the Munich-based economics institute, inflation is expected to rise from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in March. This would be the steepest rise in consumer prices since 1982.

Over the past few months, consumers in Germany have already had to battle with huge hikes in energy costs, fuel prices and increases in the price of other everyday commodities.

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With Russia and Ukraine representing major suppliers of wheat and grain, further price rises in the food market are also expected, putting an additional strain on tight incomes. 

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is set to put a dampener on the country’s annual growth forecasts. 

“We only expect growth of between 2.2 and 3.1 percent this year,” Ifo’s head of economic research Timo Wollmershäuser said on Wednesday. 

Due to the increase in the cost of living, consumers in Germany could lose around €6 billion in purchasing power by the end of March alone.

With public life in Germany returning to normal and manufacturers’ order books filling up, a significant rebound in the economy was expected this year. 

But the war “is dampening the economy through significantly higher commodity prices, sanctions, increasing supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products as well as increased economic uncertainty”, Wollmershäuser said.

Because of the current uncertainly, the Ifo Institute calculated two separate forecasts for the upcoming year.

In the optimistic scenario, the price of oil falls gradually from the current €101 per barrel to €82 by the end of the year, and the price of natural gas falls in parallel.

In the pessimistic scenario, the oil price rises to €140 per barrel by May and only then falls to €122 by the end of the year.

Energy costs have a particularly strong impact on private consumer spending.

They could rise between 3.7 and 5 percent, depending on the developments in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the German government’s ability to source its energy. 

On Wednesday, German media reported that the government was in the process of thrashing out an additional set of measures designed to support consumers with their rising energy costs.

The hotly debated measures are expected to be finalised on Wednesday evening and could include increased subsidies, a mobility allowance, a fuel rebate and a child bonus for families. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s proposals for future energy price relief

In one piece of positive news, the number of unemployed people in Germany should fall to below 2.3 million, according to the Ifo Institute.

However, short-time work, known as Kurzarbeit in German, is likely to increase significantly in the pessimistic scenario.

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