According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economic climate has increasingly deteriorated over the course of 2022 following its tentative recovery in 2021. Global output shrank in the second quarter due to decreases in China and Russia, while consumer spending in the USA was below expectations. Several factors had an impact on a global economy already weakened by the pandemic: unexpectedly high inflation all over the world – in particular in the United States and major European economies – which prompted a worsening of the financial environment, an unexpectedly strong downturn in China as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks and associated strict lockdown measures, and the negative effects of the war in Ukraine.
While the Chinese economy grew by 4.4 % in the first quarter of 2022, the country’s zero-COVID policy and property crisis brought economic growth in the world’s second-biggest economy to an almost complete standstill in the second quarter. Between April and June, China’s GDP rose by just 0.4 % year-on-year. Overall, Beijing reported an increase in GDP of 2.5 % for the first six months of 2022. The IMF believes that the Russian economy shrank by less than previously assumed in the second quarter, as crude oil and non-energy exports as well as domestic demand proved to be more robust than expected. By contrast, the effects of the war in Ukraine on the major European economies were more negative than anticipated. According to the IMF, this was due to higher energy prices, weaker consumer confidence and a slower production rate due to the disrupted supply chains.
The disruptions to supply chains are also reflected in Germany’s foreign trade: while exports rose by 11.2 % year-on-year between January and May 2022, exports in May 2022 were down 0.5 % on the previous month. Imports in the first five months were up 27.5 % year-on-year. Compared with the previous month of April, imports increased by 2.7 % in May 2022.