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German economy short of pre-pandemic level despite 2.7% growth in 2021

Friday, January 14, 2022
German economy short of pre-pandemic level despite 2.7% growth in 2021 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker at the Volkswagen assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 27, 2020. Swen Pfoertner/Pool via REUTERS//File Photo

By Michael Nienaber and Miranda Murray

BERLIN (Reuters) -The German economy failed to return to its pre-pandemic size in 2021 as microchip shortages hit production in the car industry and further COVID-19 restrictions slowed down the recovery of Europe's largest economy in the final months of the year.

Gross domestic product grew 2.7% in 2021 after plunging 4.6% in the first coronavirus crisis year 2020, preliminary figures from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday.

The figures, which were in line with analysts' forecasts in a Reuters poll, mean that Germany's economic output was still some 2% below the pre-crisis 2019 level, the office said.

The world's fourth-biggest economy shrank in the final three months of 2021 after growing in the previous two quarters as resurgent coronavirus infections led to renewed restrictions in retail and hospitality, the office said.

An early estimate pointed to a fourth-quarter contraction between 0.5% and 1.0% quarter-on-quarter, a spokesperson added.

The main growth drivers in 2021 were a jump in exports and massive public spending to cushion the impact of the pandemic, the office said.

However, the development and domestic production of a groundbreaking COVID-19 vaccine by German start-up BioNTech also boosted growth considerably, a statistics office spokesman said, without quantifying the impact.

Economic institutes have estimated that BioNTech alone added 0.5% to Germany's economic output last year, which would account for nearly a fifth of the overall expansion.

"I can't think of another single German company that has ever contributed so much to overall economic growth," said Sebastian Dullien from the macroeconomic policy institute IMK.

Germany increased net new borrowing to a record 215 billion euros ($245.87 billion) last year following an unprecedented sum of 130 billion euros in 2020 to fund the fight against COVID.

The public sector deficit of all state levels rose to 153.9 billion euros or 4.3% of economic output.

The economy ministry said in its monthly report that ongoing supply bottlenecks for important primary products in manufacturing were likely to persist for a while.

Most economists expect the German economy to shrink again in the first three months of 2022, driving it into another technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction, after the economy shrank in the first two quarters of 2020.

($1 = 0.8744 euros)

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17-01-2022 20:33:28 (UTC+7)

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 AUD/USD0.7218Sell
 USD/CAD1.2505↑ Sell
 EUR/JPY130.76↑ Sell
 EUR/CHF1.0429Neutral
 Gold1,819.05↑ Sell
 Silver23.073↑ Buy
 Copper4.4277↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI83.77Buy
 Brent Oil86.59Neutral
 Natural Gas4.263↑ Sell
 US Coffee C239.65↑ Buy
 Euro Stoxx 504,302.14↑ Sell
 S&P 5004,662.85↑ Buy
 DAX15,933.72↑ Sell
 FTSE 1007,611.23↑ Buy
 Hang Seng24,196.00↑ Buy
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 IBEX 358,838.70↑ Sell
 BASF68.140Neutral
 Bayer52.82↑ Buy
 Allianz227.05↑ Buy
 Adidas252.65↑ Buy
 Lufthansa7.241↑ Sell
 Siemens AG146.00Neutral
 Deutsche Bank AG12.018↑ Buy
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