Germany is the powerhouse economy of Europe. Its also a late-cycle economy, relying more on engineering and equipment sales than consumer spending. So until recently, its growth has seemingly not been affected by the global slowdown. But Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, indicated yesterday that a 'significant fall' was likely in economic growth next year.
Industrial production, a key indicator for the chemical industry, fell by 2.4% in May - the largest drop in a decade. And in a comment that will find echoes in many boardrooms, Merkel added that 'the economic context in which we are operating is certainly not getting any easier'. Her forecast that a 'clear economic slowdown appeared unavoidable' is rapidly becoming a consensus view.