Video: Examination of Germany's Economy Through its Macro Indicators

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By Nick Nasad | March 11, 2011 3:29 AM EST

Here is the text from the Powerpoint Slides:

Germany --The world's 4th largest economy
GDP: $3.3 trillion (2010 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: 3.6% (2010 est.)
Labor Force -- 43.5 million
7.3% unemployment rate

Breakdown of Economy:
--services: 69% (2010 est.)
--goods producing: 29%
--agriculture: 0.9%

Germany -- 2nd largest exporter

Exports: machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals,
Exports (2010): €951.9 billion +18.5%
Imports (2010): € 797.6 billion +20.0%
Trade Balance (2010): €154.3 billion
Trade Balance (2009): €138.7 billion
Forecast for Exports (2011): €1.046 trillion +9%

Important Indicators

Trade Balance (tom.)
Factory Orders
Industrial Production
Ifo Business Climate
Retail Sales
Unemployment Change
ZEW Economic Sentiment

Trade Balance

Export demand is important to manufacturing production.
A slowdown in exports means a slowdown in global economy. Slowdown in German exports would mean that globe has less demand for heavy machinery (factory equipment) and luxury goods (German cars).
Export-oriented growth model, many exporters are small and mid-size firms and a drop in global trade hurts employment.

Trade Balance

Industrial Production

Value of output of manufacturing, mines and utilities.
It's a leading indicator of economic health - production reacts quickly to ups and downs in the business cycle and is correlated with consumer conditions such as employment levels and earnings.
Export demand is important to manufacturing production which is a leading part of industrial production.
Production y/y

IFO Business Climate

This survey is highly respected due to its large sample size and historic correlation with German and wider Eurozone economic conditions. It tends to create a hefty market impact upon release;
Survey of about 7,000 businesses which asks respondents to rate the relative level of current business conditions and expectations for the next 6 months;
It's a leading indicator of economic health - businesses react quickly to market conditions, and changes in their sentiment can be an early signal of future economic activity such as spending, hiring, and investment;
Ifo Business Climate Chart

Factory Orders

Manufacturing orders advanced 2.9 percent in January from December, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said this week, beating the 2.5 percent.
Domestic factory orders surged 4.5 percent from December and foreign orders rose 1.6 percent. Therefore, the most recent increase was largely driven by domestic demand.
While orders dropped 3.6 percent in December, they rose 5.3 percent in November and 1.9 percent in October.
Overall, economy is expected to grow 2.5% in 2011, compared to 3.6% in 2010.

Unemployment Rate

Germany continued a complex set of labor reforms called the Hartz Reforms, cutting some payroll taxes, deregulating labor markets, reducing the length and size of unemployment benefits, and paying employers to keep underutilized workers.
Germany staved off mass unemployment during the financial crisis with a state-sponsored program that assisted companies in keeping workers on their roles working shorter hours.
--This "Kurzarbeit" programs have given way as staff return to full-time employment.
Lower unemployment rate means higher consumer spending and more economic activity driven by consumption.
Unemployment Rate

Retail Sales

ZEW Economic Sentiment

Survey of about 350 German institutional investors and analysts which asks respondents to rate the relative 6-month economic outlook for Germany.
Above 0.0 indicates optimism, below indicates pessimism.
It's a leading indicator of economic health - investors and analysts are highly informed by virtue of their job, and changes in their sentiment can be an early signal of future economic activity.

Summary Germany

Powerhouse of Euro-zone in 2010 (3.6%).
Growth will be slower, but still strong (2.5%)
Benefiting from strong export growth.
Unemployment at lowest level in 2 decades.
Can that lead to gains in consumption?
Watch business confidence, factory orders and industrial production for manufacturing.
Watch unemployment, retail sales and ZEW for consumption.

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