Germany flies into 'perfect storm' as economy heads towards recession

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The shrinkage means Germany is now lagging the other largest economies in the eurozone, after the second quarter saw Italy flatline and France grow 0.2 percent.

As hard data and soft indicators such as surveys of business, investor and consumer sentiment have eroded in recent weeks and months, economists have warned Europe’s powerhouse could suffer falling output and even a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative growth.

Federal statistics authority Destatis said higher spending by private households and the state as well as increased investments helped support the economy at home.

But “foreign trade developments braked economic growth, since exports fell back more sharply than imports compared with the previous quarter,” the statisticians added.

Elsewhere, markets may be pushed higher today after President Donald Trump delayed tariffs on some Chinese goods, including laptops and mobile phones, until December 15. 

The reprieve came after a call between US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese vice-premier Liu He ahead of tariffs that would have hit $300bn (£249bn) of imports from China on September 1. The two sides plan more talks in the next two weeks, according to Chinese state-run media.

5 things to start your day

1) Confidence in the German economy has crashed to its lowest level since the depths of the eurozone debt crisis, fuelling fears of a recession.

2) Fears are growing that the jobs miracle could be close to its end as unemployment edged up in June, the number of vacancies slid and productivity took its biggest plunge since 2013