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8/4/20: Ifo Institute Germany Forecast for 2020

Summary:
A surprisingly 'positive' forecast for Germany from ifo Institute this morning: While GDP contraction for 2020 looks sharp at -4.2 percent y/y, unemployment figures appear rather robust and employment levels seem to be only weakly impacted. Forecast for current account implies subdued global demand shocks. The swing in the fiscal position is roughly 6.5 percent of GDP, reflecting emergency supports measures. This is significant, and underpins shallower expected effects on employment and unemployment, as well as no deflationary dynamics in labour costs.My view: Germany entered the pandemic crisis with already weak economy. 2019 growth at 0.6 percent was shockingly weak, with the economy skirting recession. Massive strength in the current account was reflective of weak domestic demand

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A surprisingly 'positive' forecast for Germany from ifo Institute this morning:

8/4/20: Ifo Institute Germany Forecast for 2020

While GDP contraction for 2020 looks sharp at -4.2 percent y/y, unemployment figures appear rather robust and employment levels seem to be only weakly impacted. Forecast for current account implies subdued global demand shocks. The swing in the fiscal position is roughly 6.5 percent of GDP, reflecting emergency supports measures. This is significant, and underpins shallower expected effects on employment and unemployment, as well as no deflationary dynamics in labour costs.

My view: Germany entered the pandemic crisis with already weak economy. 2019 growth at 0.6 percent was shockingly weak, with the economy skirting recession. Massive strength in the current account was reflective of weak domestic demand and the economy dependent on growth momentum globally. This momentum is now severely disrupted, and I do not expect robust global recovery outside domestic demand. In other words, my view is that worldwide exports are unlikely to rebound robustly in H2 2020, putting severe pressure on net exporting economies, like Germany and Italy.

So, whilst 4+ percent drop in full year GDP might be fine, I would expect closer to 5-5.5 percent decline (reflective of weaker prices), and much more pronounced impact on unemployment and employment levels.

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