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DES - Online Annual Report 2009

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Overview of the course of business:
Macroeconomic conditions

The German economy experienced negative growth last year for the first time since 2003. Real (price-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 5.0% in Germany (previous year: +1.3%). Given that 2009 had almost the same number of working days as the preceding year, there was no visible change in the growth rate (-5.0%) after adjustment for the calendar effect.

This decline in price-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP), the largest since the Second World War, was triggered mainly by a slump in both exports and investments in capital goods. As in the previous year, net exports, the difference between exports and imports, made a negative contribution to GDP growth; the fall of 3.4% represented a sharper drop than in 2008 (-0.3%). After adjustment for prices, exports declined by 14.7%, while the reduction in imports amounted to just 8.9%. Investments in capital goods were down 20.0%.

Private consumption, the most substantial component of GDP, rose by 0.4% (2008: -0.1%) last year. The main driver behind this was the scrapping premium, which led to a marked rise in vehicle sales. By contrast, almost all spending on other purposes was lower. Government consumption expenditure even rose by 2.7% last year compared to the previous year. At 11.2%, the savings rate once again reached the high level of the previous year.

At 0.4%, the rate of inflation was at its lowest level since reunification. Last year it stood at 2.6%. The main reason for this was a fall in prices of mineral oil products and food. The average annual rate of increase since 1999 has been 1.5%.

On an annual average, the unemployment rate rose to 8.2% in 2009, a further consequence of the deep recession. This represents a year-on-year increase of 0.4 percentage points. 3.42 million people (2008: 3.27 million) were out of work.

In 2009, the European Monetary Union (EMU) experienced a reversal after all the boom years: according to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), real GDP fell by 4.2% for 2009 in the EU-27 (previous year: +0.8%).

The euro zone inflation rate also fell significantly (+1.0%; previous year: +3.7%), while unemployment rose to 9.4% (2008: 7.5%).

Chart Gross Domestic Product in germa ma ny (after ad justment for prices)
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