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Germany Economic Growth Slumps
Posted on 2020-02-14 19:10:13
Growth ground to a halt at the end of the year in Germany as manufacturing
remained in a slump and exports fell.

The state statistics agency says there was zero growth in the fourth quarter
and a mediocre 0.6 percent increase for the whole year.

Germany's troubles are a central problem for the 19-country eurozone economy
and the European Central Bank, which is trying to stimulate flagging growth
and inflation with negative interest rates and bond purchases with newly
printed money.

Germany has been a manufacturing and export champion in recent years but
those areas have been sluggish while consumer spending and services
businesses have held up better and kept the country out of recession.

Slowing global trade and the uncertainty caused by the U.S.-China conflict
over trade have been one headwind.

Another is structural change in industry, particularly the auto business,
where companies must sink billions into developing electric cars and new
services based on smartphone apps, both to meet regulatory pressure for lower
greenhouse gas emissions and to head off competition from new entrants from
the tech industry.

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