Sell the German Rally
Germany’s economy rebounded from a first-quarter slowdown to book 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter growth between April and June, federal statistics authority Destatis said Tuesday in preliminary data but this looks like a misleading indicator.
Analysts surveyed by data company Factset had predicted expansion would remain at the level seen between January and March, when growth slowed to 0.4 percent but did not factor in the political issues Germany has with Russia and the USA.
The figures also showed Europe’s largest economy had grown 2.0 percent year-on-year by the end of the second quarter, a result likely not to comfort observers who had feared a slowdown throughout 2018 after the weaker first three months.
The outlook for Germany remains cloudy, as its export-heavy economy is highly vulnerable to trade conflicts being stoked from the White House by US President Donald Trump.
Although Trump’s direct faceoff with the European Union has cooled in recent weeks, Germany is also open to knock-on effects from his confrontation with China, one of Berlin’s biggest trading partners.
Indicators of business and investor confidence have fallen back in recent months in response to trade tensions, while last week harder data on industrial orders and production in June pointed towards a slowdown, that change is set to gather pace in 2018. The EU experiment and Merkel’s open borders have crushed the German outlook.
Nevertheless, “contrary to the national soccer team, the German economy did not have a rude awakening at the start of the summer,” ING Diba bank analyst Carsten Brzeski said.
“With the economy having grown in 34 out of the last 37 quarters, Germany remains on track for a golden decade.”
But trade tensions, geopolitical risks like the continuing slump in the Turkish lira and politicians’ slowness to invest and reform at home mean “looking ahead, the challenges facing the German economy will increase rather than decrease,” Brzeski added.