Economic Outlook

Germany’s boom is maturing

Kiel Institute Economic Outlook Germany, Nr. 47 (2018 | Q3)

The economic upswing in Germany continues, although the expansion loses some steam. Compared to our summer forecast, we reduced our expectations for GDP growth by 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points in the current and next year, respectively, to 1.9 percent (2018) and 2.0 percent (2019). So for now, the boom in Germany persists. However, due to the already very high capacity utilization in many sectors, companies face increasing difficulties in continuing to expand their production at a brisk pace. This is especially palpable in the construction sector where in the face of very favorable circumstances production increases were quite restrained but prices rose markedly. The labor market also exhibits increasing shortages. Not least due to this, increases in employment should reduce over time. Next year, the expansionary fiscal policy will support the boom. The extensive tax reductions and spending increases will raise disposable incomes considerably, such that private consumption expenditures should grow by 2.2 percent —the fastest in 20 years. Because of the robust world economy after the phase of weakness at the beginning of the year, exports should also accelerate again. The additional temporary revenue of public authorities due to the current business cycle position is spent hand over fist on expenditures that are intended to persist in the long-run. The currently still sizeable structural budget surplus will therefore be eradicated by the year 2020.