A shopping street in the German city of Stralsund
Germanyís economy tipped into recession in the beginning of the year and stagnated in the second quarter. Many blame the circumstances on the governmentís aid to Ukraine for the war with Russia.
According to the latest figures from federal statistics agency Destatis on Thursday, German exports fell more than expected in August, adding to signs that Europeís biggest economy had fallen back into recession.
Exports totaled 127.9 billion euros ($134.5 billion), a decline of 1.2 percent on the previous month. Imports were down 0.4 percent compared with July, totaling 111.4 billion euros.
"Like the rest of the German economy, exports remain stuck in the twilight zone between recession and stagnation," said ING bank economist Carsten Brzeski. "The risk of the German economy of sliding back into recession in the third quarter remains high."
The August disappointment was led by a 2.6-percent fall in exports to fellow Eurozone countries.
Last week, Germanyís leading economic institutes said they expect gross domestic product to contract by 0.6 percent in 2023.
The International Monetary Fund has predicted Germany will be the only major advanced economy to shrink this year.
Shipments to the United States, the top destination for "Made in Germany" goods, dipped by 1.3 percent month-on-month.
High inflation, an industrial slowdown and weaker demand from key trading partner China have all been weighing on Europeís economic powerhouse in recent months.
The Germans, accustomed to decades of prosperity, are now losing confidence.
Media reports indicate people are worried about their jobs. They are worried about what they have achieved in the past. Most people, in particular, people with low incomes, are experiencing a massive cut in the purchasing power of their salary.
Germany and several other EU states under US pressure have continued to supply weapons to Ukraine, despite business bankruptcies in European countries hitting the highest level in years.
Skyrocketing energy prices have cost Europe nearly $1 trillion, according to a recently published report which state the current situation is the fallout of the war in Ukraine and is just the beginning of the deepest crisis in decades.
The war between Russia and Ukraine also pushed up oil and gas prices. Europe is heavily dependent on Russia for much of its energy. The higher prices will likely trigger a global recession.
Berlin stresses air defense assistance to Ukraine
Germany is working on sending Kiev an additional Patriot air defense system, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a summit in Spain. "Germany is working on providing Ukraine with an additional Patriot system for the winter months. Iím grateful for Germanyís support in defending our freedom and people," Zelensky said on social media.
Speaking in Grenada during a summit of the European Political Community, Scholz affirmed that Germany was working on the supply of an additional Patriot air defense missile system to Ukraine in the winter months.
The German chancellor said Russia would try to threaten Ukraineís infrastructure and cities again this winter with missile and drone attacks, and that is what made the air defense system a priority.
He also praised Washingtonís unconditional support for the Ukraine war. "President Biden spoke with me and others the day before yesterday about the question of US support, and he assured us that he is very confident that the American Congress will continue to provide the necessary support for Ukraine in the future."
"There is an overwhelming majority in both parties of the Congress in the USA who want to support Ukraine," the German chancellor said of the US president.
Russia says the operation in Ukraine has been in order to defend the pro-Russia population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against alleged persecution by Kiev. Ever since the war began, Kievís allies, led by the United States and Britain, have been supplying Ukraine with weapons. Russia says it all would prolong the war.