Germany: Cyclical Improvement not Until the End of the Year
During the second quarter of 2001 German overall production stagnated. Weak global development muddied the economic prospects of firms and prevented them from rising their output and their investment activities. In 2001 gross national product will only increase by 1%; the number of unemployed will be higher than expected. Nevertheless, we advise against an increase in public expenditure that aims at stimulating the economy. Anyhow, growing public deficits, caused by cyclical movements, should be accepted. In order to increase employment labour market reforms become more urgent. In East Germany, currently even a decline in gross national product cannot be excluded. After the first period of restructuring, which has been accompanied by structural problems, cyclical movements become more important. In addition, economic stagnation burdens labour markets. Nonetheless trying to stimulate the East German economy by government spending programmes does not seem to be a viable strategy. From the cyclical point of view they are not very efficient and concerning structural problems they are no solution.