Business Cycle Forecast 2009: World Financial Crisis Triggers Deep Recession in Germany
At the beginning of 2009, the major industrialized economies are in recession. The financial turmoil has developed into a crisis of confidence to and solvency of the financial sector, raising financing costs and lowering the value of assets for firms and households. Monetary and fiscal policies have reacted strongly, but they will not succeed in ending the recession until the financial sectors in the US and in Western Europe have stabilized. This forecast is made under the assumption that stabilization will start in the second half of 2009 because the continued protection of important financial institutions by governments will restore confidence – albeit at a low level – and because at this time, the fall of US-house prices will start to fade off. The German economy is hit particularly hard, because the financial crisis depresses worldwide investment demand and the sectors producing investment goods are at the heart of the German economy. The recession will not end before the second half of 2009, and capacity utilization will decrease throughout the year. We expect a tentative revival to begin in a recovery of exports. While private investment will shrink markedly, consumption of private households and the government as well as public investment will dampen the downturn. GDP will shrink by 1.9% in Germany and in East Germany by 1.5% because this region is less dependent on exports. Economic policy has to help restoring confidence, and this can only be achieved if it behaves in a consistent and predictable way.