Economic Trends

The global downturn persisted into the first half of 2009, resulting in a demand slump in key sales sectors, especially in the first quarter. From mid-2009, the recession began to bottom out and signs of a slow economic recovery became visible. The world’s main economies have stabilized at a low level and leading economic institutes have upwardly revised their forecasts for 2009 and 2010. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, though, the global economy still shrank by 1.1% in 2009 (2008: +3.0%).

Global Economy Shrinks in First Half of 2009 with Slow Recovery in Second Half

According to the IMF, GDP in the USA dropped 2.7% in 2009 (2008: +0.4%). High unemployment and declining property prices were mainly responsible for the lack of growth in the highly consumer-spending-driven American economy. The downward trend leveled out in the second half of the year.

GDP Trends in 2009 GDP Trends in 2009 (bar chart)

Sources – worldwide: IMF; USA: IMF; Asia: ADB; China: Chinese government; Japan: ADB; Europe: IMF; Germany: Federal Statistics Office

The global recession also slowed growth in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that the region’s economy grew 3.9% (2008: 6.1%). Contrary to the general trend, Chinese growth remained at a high level – fueled by an economic stimulus program totaling US$580 billion. According to the Chinese government, 2009 growth amounted to 8.7% (2008: 9.0%). Japan was hard hit by the global economic crisis. The ADB estimates that the Japanese economy dropped 5.8% (2008: -0.7%). The main factor here was a massive slump in exports.

The scale of the eurozone downturn was similar. According to IMF data, GDP fell 4.2% due to lower exports and investments (2008: +0.7%).

As an export-based country, Germany was particularly affected by the global economic crisis. The slump in exports caused GDP to drop by 5.0% in 2009 (2008: +1.2%). Although there was a slow recovery in the second half of the year, it was not enough to compensate for the first half.