Midterm Projection: Economic Development and the Public Budget in the Years 2011 - 2015
In 2010 economic activity in Germany improved steadily. While global trade increased in the first half of the year – and, thus, German exports – domestic demand became increasingly important. Private Investment recovered and – even more important – consumption contributed to economic growth. Moreover, employment reached an all-time high and unemployment decreased further during the year. Until 2015 economic growth will keep to be relatively high. German external trade will still gain momentum by the development of global trade. However, economic development will be driven more and more by domestic demand. Interest rates will remain relatively low and stimulate investment activity. Moreover, unemployment will continually shrink, partly reflecting demographic developments, but partly mirrored in increasing employment. Due to a higher degree of employment security and rising wages consumption will gain momentum. Real GDP will increase by 2.3% in 2011 and by 1.7% in 2012. From 2013 – 2015 it will rise by 1½% on average. While the German economy will gain strength, public budgets will clearly improve. In 2010 the deficit ratio exceeds the Maastricht threshold only slightly; in relation to nominal GDP the German budget deficit was about 3.2%. Concerning the high fiscal stimulus, mainly given in the years 2009 and 2010, the deficit ratio is surprisingly low. While income and wage taxes as well as the receipts from social security contributions already increased, unemployment benefits already declined substantially. The midterm projection shows a favorable development of public budgets. While employment remains high and unemployment continually decreases, the wage tax and the social security contributions will boost revenue. On contrast the same development will lessen public expenditure, especially transfers. This projection relies heavily on the assumption that fiscal policy will trace its consolidation plans. For instance, it is assumed that the federal level will implement their plans from summer/autumn 2010 and that there will be no additional measures. In this case, in 2015 the German public budget will show a surplus of ¼% in relation to GDP.