Germany is Europe's largest economy, which explains its leading role in managing the current debt crisis of the eurozone. Over the last few years, its performance was not optimal due to the country's vulnerability to outside shocks, domestic structural problems and ongoing difficulties in integrating the formerly communist eastern part. German grew very slowly in 2013 (0.5%), but the outlook for 2014 is better (1.6%).
The German economic indicators are a source for envy. Its current account surplus should reach 7% of the GDP, the social security funds show a suprlus of around 30 billion euro and public finances are also running a slight surplus. The German economic model, which relies on trade (exports of industrial goods), provoked two large debats in 2013, which had to do with trade surplus and the minimum wage. Germany has to do with a pressure to stimulate domestic deman through an increase in investment. The turning away from nuclear energy, which should happen by 2022, will require enormous investment, which will add to the 20 billion euros already allocated for the development of renewable energies in 2013. The new government will probably gradually reduce subsidies. While around 7.3 million people are working precarious, low-paid jobs without welfare protection, a wage increase above the level of inflation is also planned. The main challenge for the German government is still managing the debt crisis of the eurozone.
Despite the recession, Germany has managed to keep its unemployment rate at around 5.2%. However, the challenge of integrating the former East Germany, where unemployment is very high, persists.
|Main Indicators||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015 (e)|
|GDP (billions USD)||3,631.44||3,427.85||3,635.96e||3,820.46||3,908.80|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||3.4||0.9||0.5||1.4e||1.5|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||45,208||42,569||44||47,201||48,226|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-1.2||-0.1||0.6||0.5||0.5|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||80.0||81.0||78.4||75.5e||72.5|
|Inflation Rate (%)||2.5||2.1||1.6e||0.9||1.2|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||6.0||5.5||5.3||5.3||5.3|
|Current Account (billions USD)||228.15||252.28||254.93||236.99||228.39|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||6.3||7.4||7.0e||6.2||5.8|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
The German agricultural sector contributes about 1% of the GDP and employs about 1.6% of the active population. The sector has greatly benefitted from State subsidies. Main agricultural products are milk, pork and livestock farming, sugar beet and cereals. Consumers prefer organic agriculture. The country is going through a process of deindustrialization of the food sector.
The contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP has dropped from 51% in 1970 to about 28% today. However, the German economy still has some specialized sectors such as mechanical engineering, electric and electronic equipment, automotive and chemical products. The automotive industry is one of the country's largest industrial sectors and Germany the world's 3rd largest exporter of cars. German decision to abandon civil nuclear energy by 2022 is also likely to remodel the German industrial landscape.
The tertiary sector contributes about 70% to the GDP. The German economic model relies mainly on a dense network of SMEs; there are more than 3 million of them employing 70% of the salaried workers.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||1.5||28.2||70.2|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||0.9||30.7||68.4|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||-1.9||0.1||0.1|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||0.72||0.76||0.72||0.78||0.76|
Source: CIA - The world factbook - Last Available Data.
The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.
Trade represents more than 95% of Germany’s GDP (WTO average for 2010-2012). With exports representing about 40% of GDP, Germany is a leader in exports (only recently caught up with by China).
In 2013, Germany's trade surplus reached record levels (189.9b euro), with imports decreasing more quickly (-1.2%) than exports (-0.2%). A recovery of exports is expected in 2014 (+4%) and also, to a lesser extent, of imports.
The whole of the European Union is its primary trade partner: around 60% of German exports and 60% of its imports are done with the EU. China and the U.S. are the other two main partners
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||926,347||1,054,814||1,254,870||1,163,230||1,187,251|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||1,120,040||1,258,924||1,473,985||1,407,080||1,452,795|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||252,543||267,605||296,848||294,818||314,737|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||225,756||242,554||268,588||265,551||286,823|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-9.6||12.9||7.2||-0.0||3.1|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-14.3||14.5||8.0||2.8||1.6|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||32.9||37.1||40.0||40.0||39.8|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||37.8||42.3||44.8||45.9||45.6|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||198,013||213,743||227,027||253,189||279,470|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||168,097||175,890||179,799||206,117||215,948|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||70.8||79.4||84.8||86.0||85.3|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||64.0%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||64.9%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of products exported in 2013|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||10.2%|
|Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s.||3.8%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||3.3%|
|Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes;...Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles||2.4%|
|Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products||1.4%|
|See More Products||78.9%|
|- bn USD of products imported in 2013|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude||6.2%|
|Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons||4.4%|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||3.4%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||3.1%|
|Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s.||2.9%|
|See More Products||80.0%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of services exported in 2011|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||22.46%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||6.78%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||5.62%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||5.48%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||5.17%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||2.07%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||1.57%|
|Services between related...Services between related enterprises, n.i.e.||1.28%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.11%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||10.14%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||1.23%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||0.86%|
|Sea transportSea transport||11.79%|
|Air transportAir transport||9.05%|
|Road transportRoad transport||0.73%|
|Rail transportRail transport||0.60%|
|Inland waterway transportInland waterway transport||0.05%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||7.03%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||3.40%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||4.56%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||0.06%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||0.18%|
|Freight insuranceFreight insurance||0.06%|
|Life insurance and pension fundingLife insurance and pension funding||0.01%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||1.24%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.90%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||0.34%|
|Military units and agenciesMilitary units and agencies||0.63%|
|- bn USD of services imported in 2011|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||25.36%|
|Education-related expenditureEducation-related expenditure||1.18%|
|Health-related expenditureHealth-related expenditure||0.36%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||3.58%|
|Expenditure by seasonal and...Expenditure by seasonal and border workers||0.58%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||22.40%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||8.68%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||7.14%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||4.35%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||3.61%|
|Services between related...Services between related enterprises, n.i.e.||2.54%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||2.33%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||0.84%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.05%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||2.73%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||2.73%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||1.09%|
|Air transportAir transport||8.46%|
|Sea transportSea transport||7.71%|
|Road transportRoad transport||4.35%|
|Rail transportRail transport||0.58%|
|Inland waterway transportInland waterway transport||0.14%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||5.51%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||2.17%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||2.18%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||0.45%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||1.77%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.83%|
|Freight insuranceFreight insurance||0.27%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||0.23%|
|Life insurance and pension fundingLife insurance and pension funding||0.03%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||0.92%|
|Embassies and consulatesEmbassies and consulates||0.08%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
The Head of State is the President. He is elected for a five year term by the Federal Convention (which includes the members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the provincial legislatures). The role of the president is mainly ceremonial.
The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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