Construction, consumption steer German economy back to growth path

A worker walks on scaffolding at the Axel Springer Campus, still under construction, in Berlin on February 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Construction, consumption steer German economy back to growth path

  • Gross domestic product in Europe’s largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter
  • Growth figures a ‘first ray of hope’ following two quarters without expansion

BERLIN: The German economy returned to growth in the first quarter, helped by higher household spending and a booming construction industry, preliminary data showed on Wednesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in Europe’s largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter, the Federal Statistics Office said. This was in line with analysts’ expectations.
Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the economy grew 0.7 percent, calendar-adjusted data showed. This was also in line with the forecast.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that the growth figures were a “first ray of hope” following two quarters without expansion, but this was no reason to give the all-clear.
“The international trade disputes are still unresolved. We must do everything possible to find acceptable solutions that enable free trade,” Altmaier said.
Altmaier, a confidant of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, repeated a call to support companies by cutting red tape and taxes. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, has declined to cut corporate taxes.
The Statistics Office said growth was mainly driven by construction and increased household spending.
It confirmed that the German economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of last year and stagnated in the fourth.


China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia up 43%

Updated 25 May 2019
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China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia up 43%

  • Imports grew to 1.53 million barrels per day compared with 1.07 million a year ago
  • Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s top state-owned refiners, are halting Iranian oil purchases for loading in May, three people with knowledge of the matter said

BEIJING: China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose 43 percent in April, making the Middle Eastern OPEC kingpin once again the top supplier to the world’s second-biggest economy, boosted by demand from new private refiners.
Saudi imports grew to 6.30 million tons, or 1.53 million barrels per day (bpd) on a daily basis, compared with 1.07 million bpd in the year ago period, according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Saturday.
Saudi shipments were supported by higher refinery run rates at Hengli Petrochemical Co. Ltd, with production at the 400,000 bpd-capacity refinery in northeast China expected to reach optimal levels in late June. About 70 percent of the feedstock for Hengli came from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile Russian supplies were 6.12 million tons, or 1.49 million bpd, up from 1.35 million bpd in April last year.
China in April imported 3.24 million tons of crude oil from Iran, or 789,137 bpd, up from March’s 541,100 bpd, as companies ramped up buying before the scrapping of sanctions waivers the US had granted to big buyers of Iranian oil.
China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec Group) and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country’s top state-owned refiners, are halting Iranian oil purchases for loading in May, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
Venezuela shipments stood at 1.9 million tons, or 462,813 bpd in April, up 85 percent versus 249,700 bpd in March, while crude imports from Iraq were 3.31 million tons, or 806,372 bpd, down from 904,500 bpd the previous month.