After a weak winter half-year, the global economy gathered slight momentum in the spring. Although the economic recovery in the first quarter was slightly slower than in late 2015 with growth of 0.6 %, favourable economic data (e.g. slightly higher prices for certain commodities) signalled an upturn in the global economy for the second quarter. Global trade slowed considerably at the beginning of the year on the back of weak global economic growth.
The recovery in the advanced economies continued at a moderate pace, albeit with varying trends in individual countries. The US economy, for example, grew more slowly than expected in the first quarter. However, positive retail indicators heralded stronger GDP growth in the second quarter. First-quarter economic growth in the emerging markets was still at a low level and fragile, but exceeded expectations in some countries. The signs for the second quarter also pointed to an easing of the downwards trend.
Although the Chinese economy is still transitioning into a more service-driven economy with stronger domestic demand, it achieved growth of 6.7 % in both the first and second quarter of 2016. Improved consumer and business confidence, as well as the higher oil price, helped to stabilise the situation in Russia (Q4 2015: - 3.8 %; Q1 2016: - 1.2 %). The Ukrainian economy also appears to be slowly finding its way out of the crisis: according to government statistics, it grew by 0.1 % in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the previous year. The upswing in the eurozone continued in the first half of 2016. Despite increased uncertainty in the run-up to the UK referendum on whether to leave the EU (“Brexit”), the economy expanded by 1.6 % in the second quarter of 2016. Outside the eurozone, Central and Eastern European countries in particular recorded sound economic growth, although some saw growth rates slow. Irrespective of the fragile international environment, the German economy remains in good shape and is on a stable growth trajectory. The economic barometer issued by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) indicates quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of 0.3 % for the second quarter of 2016. In the first five months of the year, exports rose by 1.5 % year on year and imports by 0.2 %.