Macroeconomic development

Following a dynamic start to 2021, the global economic recovery lost ever more momentum as the year progressed. In many parts of the world, economic growth was held back by resurgent infection rates. To make matters worse, each new wave of infections was increasingly out of step with the measures currently in place and their economic impact. Countries with high vaccination uptake, for example, were prepared to tolerate higher incidence rates and refrained from taking sweeping containment measures that would have severely curtailed economic activity. According to estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2022, total growth in global economic output for 2021 as a whole will amount to 5.9 %.

Development of gross domestic product (GDP)

in %









- 3.1

Advanced economies




- 4.5





- 3.4

Emerging economies




- 2.0










- 2.7





- 6.4

Central and Eastern Europe (emerging european economies)




- 1.8





- 4.6

World trade




- 8.2

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF); January 2022

In addition to new virus variants, rising inflation in the second half of the year in particular had an adverse impact on the economy. Fossil fuel prices almost doubled in the reporting period, causing energy costs to soar in Europe in particular. In addition, capacity problems in the logistics system and supply bottlenecks impeded the upturn in industrial production in 2021, while the strong demand for goods – especially in the US – led to increasing price pressure. Nevertheless, the IMF forecasts significant catch-up effects in trade volume following the pandemic-related slump and anticipates growth of 9.3 % for 2021.

The total economic performance of the advanced economies, macroeconomic output rose by 5.0 % in 2021. The US economy recovered quickly from the slump at the start of the pandemic and recorded robust growth of 5.6 %. This upturn in the world’s largest economy was accompanied by a strong rise in inflation. A broad-based upswing in Europe was also hampered by supply bottlenecks and new infection waves. The IMF expects that gross domestic product (GDP) in the eurozone grew by 5.2 % in 2021.

In the emerging economies, the prospect of a strong economic recovery was equally dampened by the Delta variant. According to the IMF’s estimates, economic growth in the reporting period reached 6.5 %.

In China, new coronavirus outbreaks coupled with interruptions to industrial production due to power outages, falling real estate and a faster than expected pullback in government spending in the second half of the year contributed to an economic slowdown. Nevertheless, the world’s second-largest economy grew by 8.1 % in 2021.

The Russian economy also had to contend with adverse conditions following the recovery in the first half of 2021. Any further upturn was stalled by output restrictions caused by new coronavirus waves. High commodity prices, however, have helped stimulate the economy. Experts forecast a 4.5 % increase in Russia’s GDP for 2021. By contrast, the IMF’s latest estimates from October 2021 indicate slower economic growth of 3.5 % for Ukraine, with not just the pandemic but in particular the simmering conflict with Russia adversely affecting the economy. The economy of Estonia, however, is expected to have grown by a robust 8.5 % in 2021.

The countries of the European Union also experienced an economic upturn with growth of 5.2 %. In Central and Eastern Europe, GDP growth was even stronger at 6.5 %.

The recovery of the German economy was weak by international comparison, with growth slower than originally expected at 2.7 %. According to estimates of the German Federal Statistical Office, GDP even fell in the fourth quarter.


Payments for investments in property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets.