German businesses do not expect quick return to normal

Germany was already teetering on the edge of recession before the coronavirus outbreak. Above, staff from bus operators and travel agencies call for rescue and state help on May 27, 2020 in Berlin. (AFP)
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Updated 28 May 2020

German businesses do not expect quick return to normal

  • Germany’s economy is likely to shrink by 6.6 percent this year
  • That would be Germany’s worst economic performance since reunification in 1990

BERLIN: Germany’s economy is likely to shrink by 6.6 percent this year as businesses expect it will take nine months on average before operations return to normal after the coronavirus, the Ifo Institute said on Thursday.
That would be Germany’s worst economic performance since reunification in 1990.
As the outlook improves next year, Ifo predicts Europe’s biggest economy will grow 10.2 percent in 2021.
Recent surveys suggest Germany is slowly recovering after economic life was restricted in late March to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Ifo, however, said some businesses are braced for longer and more painful recoveries.
Travel, hospitality and car manufacturing expected lengthier recoveries, while aviation expects normalization to take 16 months, Ifo’s survey showed.
Ifo expects the economy to shrink 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 from a year earlier due to the nationwide lockdown.
The forecasts are for Ifo’s most likely scenario.
In its worst-case scenario, in which a return to normal took 16 months, the economy would shrink 9.3 percent this year and grow 9.5 percent in 2021. In the best case, companies would recover in five months, the economy would shrink just 3.9 percent in 2020 and expand 7.4 percent next year.
All three scenarios, based on business sentiment as well as production, turnover and foreign trade data, assumed a gradual relaxation of restrictions from the end of April. Smaller shops reopened on April 20.
Construction, until recently resilient in the face of the downturn, will also suffer this year, its industry association said. It forecast turnover will stagnate at $149 billion, the same level as last year but a decline of 3 percent in real terms.
Even in the health care sector, which might have been expected to be a beneficiary of the crisis, 72 percent of companies expect revenues to fall thanks to the impact of the crisis on operations and severed supply chains, a German Chambers of Commerce survey showed.
Only 6 percent were profiting from increased demand for products like protective clothing, ventilators and diagnostic tests, the survey showed.
Germany was already teetering on the edge of recession before the coronavirus outbreak. Its economy grew 0.6 percent in 2019, its slowest rate since 2013.


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea mega project awards contracts for international airport

Updated 13 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea mega project awards contracts for international airport

  • Saudi Arabia plans to develop resorts on 50 islands off the Red Sea coast, offering a nature reserve, coral reef diving and heritage sites
  • Red Sea Development Co, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), plans to build the first phase by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company said on Monday it had awarded infrastructure contracts for an international airport that is due to open in 2022.
The company, which is developing a huge Red Sea tourism project, said the contracts were awarded to Nesma & Partners Contracting Co. Ltd. and Almabani General Contractors.
Saudi Arabia plans to develop resorts on 50 islands off the Red Sea coast, offering a nature reserve, coral reef diving and heritage sites.
Red Sea Development Co, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), plans to build the first phase by 2022. It aims to attract 300,000 tourists a year in the first phase and 800,000 to 1 million once the development is complete.
Red Sea is one of three major projects backed by PIF, along with the $500 billion NEOM economic zone and the Qiddiya entertainment project.
Saudi Arabia’s NEOM, which is building a $500 billion mega economic zone, said last week it had signed an agreement with Air Products and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power for a $5 billion green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility.