Focus Germany: Overheating risks are looming
The German economy is likely to have maintained its rapid growth rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending, in particular, has been stronger than expected thanks to the recent fall in oil prices and the continuing significant rise in employment levels. We have revised our GDP forecast for the whole year upwards to 1.6% (1.3%) which is equivalent to a calendar-adjusted rate of 2%. With an expected increase of 1.7% in 2018, German GDP is again likely to exceed the trend growth rate of around 1.25% – for the fifth successive year – and the positive output gap should widen to over two percentage points. The tight labour market could lead to increases in pay settlements of more than 3% during the round of collective pay bargaining (public sector, construction and metals) set to take place in early 2018, especially as these deals that are due to expire were originally negotiated some time ago, which signals some catch-up potential. Against the backdrop of additional fiscal stimuli after the Bundestag election, and monetary policy remaining extremely relaxed, the risk of overheating, at least in parts of the German economy, is increasing. However, the rate of (consumer price) inflation over the coming two years should remain below 2%, especially as we are not anticipating a depreciation of the euro against the US dollar. (Further topics: German house prices; The View from Berlin)

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