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German economy stagnates with no growth in last quarter - business live German economy stagnates as eurozone growth hits seven-year low - business live
(32 minutes later)
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, including the latest eurozone growth figuresRolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, including the latest eurozone growth figures
At just 0.1%, the eurozone and the EU has both posted their weakest growth since early 2013 (when the debt crisis drove Europe into recession).
Although countries in the periphery grew quite strongly in the last quarter of 2019, weakness at Europe’s largest economies was to blame.
Here’s what we know (not all countries have reported GDP yet):
Romania: +1.5% quarter-on-quarter in October-December
Lithuania: +1.3%
Hungary: +1.0%
Cyprus: +0.8%
Bulgaria: +0.7%
Portugal: +0.6%
Slovakia: +0.6%
Spain: +0.5%
Belgium: + 0.4%
Netherlands: +0.4%
Austria: +0.3%
Denmark: +0.3%
Czechia: +0.2%
Latvia: +0.2%
Poland: +0.2%
Germany: no growth
France: -0.1%
Italy: -0.3%
Finland: -0.4%
And here’s how some non-EU members performed
China: +1.5% growth quarter-on-quarter
US: + 0.5%
UK: no growth
Just in: The eurozone nearly stalled in the final quarter of 2019, dragged down by weakness in its three largest economies.Just in: The eurozone nearly stalled in the final quarter of 2019, dragged down by weakness in its three largest economies.
Statistics body Eurostat reports that the euro area and the wider European Union only grew by 0.1% in October-December. That’s down from 0.3% growth across Europe in July-SeptemberStatistics body Eurostat reports that the euro area and the wider European Union only grew by 0.1% in October-December. That’s down from 0.3% growth across Europe in July-September
Germany stagnated (as we learned at 7am), while France and Italy contracted during the quarter.Germany stagnated (as we learned at 7am), while France and Italy contracted during the quarter.
On an annual basis, the eurozone only grew by 1.2% in 2019 while the EU expanded by 1.4%.On an annual basis, the eurozone only grew by 1.2% in 2019 while the EU expanded by 1.4%.
This matches Eurostat’s ‘flash’ GDP estimates from a couple of weeks ago, and confirms that Europe ended 2019 on a weak note.This matches Eurostat’s ‘flash’ GDP estimates from a couple of weeks ago, and confirms that Europe ended 2019 on a weak note.
Paul Sommerville of Sommerville Advisory Markets points out that Germany’s economy has been basically flat for nine months:Paul Sommerville of Sommerville Advisory Markets points out that Germany’s economy has been basically flat for nine months:
European stock markets are subdued today, following Germany’s underwhelming growth figures.European stock markets are subdued today, following Germany’s underwhelming growth figures.
The Stoxx 600 index is flat, having dropped yesterday as traders fretted about a sharp leap in coronavirus cases.The Stoxx 600 index is flat, having dropped yesterday as traders fretted about a sharp leap in coronavirus cases.
In London, the FTSE 100 is being pulled down by RBS (-6%); its weak outlook has also pushed Lloyds and Barclays down almost 1%.In London, the FTSE 100 is being pulled down by RBS (-6%); its weak outlook has also pushed Lloyds and Barclays down almost 1%.
Over in the City, shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have slumped 6% as new chief executive Alison Rose outlines her strategy alongside its latest financial resultsOver in the City, shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have slumped 6% as new chief executive Alison Rose outlines her strategy alongside its latest financial results
RBS is being rebranded as NatWest, with Rose perhaps hoping to put the legacy of the bank’s bailout firmly into history.RBS is being rebranded as NatWest, with Rose perhaps hoping to put the legacy of the bank’s bailout firmly into history.
She is also slashing the size of its investment bank and cutting its long-term profitability targets. But arguably the most important news is that RBS has laid out its climate emergency strategy.She is also slashing the size of its investment bank and cutting its long-term profitability targets. But arguably the most important news is that RBS has laid out its climate emergency strategy.
It plans to”at least halve” the climate impact of our financing activity by 2030, and will phase out all support for the coal industry by the end of the decade. It will also stop lending to energy firms from next year if they don’t have a plan to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals.It plans to”at least halve” the climate impact of our financing activity by 2030, and will phase out all support for the coal industry by the end of the decade. It will also stop lending to energy firms from next year if they don’t have a plan to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals.
Rose concedes this will be tough:Rose concedes this will be tough:
RBS also posted a 93% jump in profits for 2019. Investors, though, are disappointed that RBS didn’t announce a larger special dividend today. They may also be concerned that the bank says it faces a “range of significant risks and uncertainties” from political, economic and regulatory angles.RBS also posted a 93% jump in profits for 2019. Investors, though, are disappointed that RBS didn’t announce a larger special dividend today. They may also be concerned that the bank says it faces a “range of significant risks and uncertainties” from political, economic and regulatory angles.
The euro has dropped to its lowest level in over two and a half years, after this morning’s German GDP figures.The euro has dropped to its lowest level in over two and a half years, after this morning’s German GDP figures.
The single currency has dipped to €1.0828, its weakest levels since May 2017, extending its recent losses.The single currency has dipped to €1.0828, its weakest levels since May 2017, extending its recent losses.
The risk of a full-blown recession is hanging over Germany, says economist Carsten Brzeski of ING.The risk of a full-blown recession is hanging over Germany, says economist Carsten Brzeski of ING.
He fears that the Covid-19 outbreak will hurt Germany, although a pick-up in construction could cushion the blow.He fears that the Covid-19 outbreak will hurt Germany, although a pick-up in construction could cushion the blow.
Having analysed today’s GDP report, Brzeski writes:Having analysed today’s GDP report, Brzeski writes:
Brzeski reckons that hopes of a strong rebound this year have been wiped out:Brzeski reckons that hopes of a strong rebound this year have been wiped out:
Stagnation is bad, but there’s some relief that Germany didn’t do even worse.Stagnation is bad, but there’s some relief that Germany didn’t do even worse.
Oliver Rakau of Oxford Economics feared German GDP could actually have contracted in the last quarter, given recent weak data:Oliver Rakau of Oxford Economics feared German GDP could actually have contracted in the last quarter, given recent weak data:
Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien agrees:Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien agrees:
But currency analyst Marc-André Fongern is concerned about Germany’s prospects this year, given the coronavirus outbreak will hurt its manufacturing base.But currency analyst Marc-André Fongern is concerned about Germany’s prospects this year, given the coronavirus outbreak will hurt its manufacturing base.
2019 was not a great year for Germany.2019 was not a great year for Germany.
Today’s GDP report shows that the economy grew by 0.5% in January-March, only to shrink by 0.2% in April-June. Growth picked up by 0.2% in July-September, before fizzling out in the last quarter.Today’s GDP report shows that the economy grew by 0.5% in January-March, only to shrink by 0.2% in April-June. Growth picked up by 0.2% in July-September, before fizzling out in the last quarter.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial market, the eurozone and business.Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial market, the eurozone and business.
Newsflash: Germany’s economy is flatlining, as a slowdown in spending and exports wipes out growth.Newsflash: Germany’s economy is flatlining, as a slowdown in spending and exports wipes out growth.
Figures just released show that German GDP was unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2019. Economists had expected a rise of 0.1%, so this is disappointing (and matches the UK’s own performance in Q4).Figures just released show that German GDP was unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2019. Economists had expected a rise of 0.1%, so this is disappointing (and matches the UK’s own performance in Q4).
On an annual basis, the German economy only grew by 0.6% during 2019, Destatis adds. That’s a very weak result, as Europe’s largest economy struggles to handle trade tensions, changes in the auto industry, and a slowing European economy.On an annual basis, the German economy only grew by 0.6% during 2019, Destatis adds. That’s a very weak result, as Europe’s largest economy struggles to handle trade tensions, changes in the auto industry, and a slowing European economy.
It’s not all gloom -- growth in the third quarter has been revised up to 0.2%. But the general picture is weak:It’s not all gloom -- growth in the third quarter has been revised up to 0.2%. But the general picture is weak:
Destatis, Germany’s statistics body, reports that household and government spending both slowed in the last quarter, while investment from companies was mixed.Destatis, Germany’s statistics body, reports that household and government spending both slowed in the last quarter, while investment from companies was mixed.
Donald Trump’s trade wars also hurt Germany. Destatis reports that German exports were “slightly down” in the last quarter, while imports of goods and services increased.Donald Trump’s trade wars also hurt Germany. Destatis reports that German exports were “slightly down” in the last quarter, while imports of goods and services increased.
Later today we’ll get an updated reading on eurozone GDP for the last quarter. Preliminary figures release last month showed that the region only grew by 0.1%, with France and Italy shrinking.Later today we’ll get an updated reading on eurozone GDP for the last quarter. Preliminary figures release last month showed that the region only grew by 0.1%, with France and Italy shrinking.
More to follow!More to follow!
The agendaThe agenda
7am GMT: German GDP for October-December 2019, first estimate7am GMT: German GDP for October-December 2019, first estimate
10am GMT: Eurozone GDP for October-December 2019, second estimate10am GMT: Eurozone GDP for October-December 2019, second estimate