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The year 1967

In 1967, development of the global economy varied greatly in different regions. In the EEC, gross national product rose by 3 percent in real terms - an average value exceeded by the likes of Italy (with 5.9 percent), whilst Belgium, Luxembourg and, above all, the Federal Republic came nowhere near achieving this figure. After years of continued expansion in the general economy, a rather “mild recession” (Robert Hettlage) - assuming this interruption in growth is counted as a long-term trend in the West German economy - set the alarm bells ringing amongst economists and politicians of the day. The absence of economic growth (-0.1 percent), an unemployment figure of 2.1 percent, which in 1965 still stood at 0.7 percent, a rate of inflation of 3.5 percent, shrinking industrial production (overall sales down by 7.4 percent) and a slump in capital investment (down 8.4 percent) provided the first indications of the limitations to economic growth in the Federal Republic. The recession was particularly hard on construction, the automotive industry, the textiles industry and also mechanical engineering, which had to come to terms with a fall in production of 6.6 percent, although an increase in exports of 9 percent ensured that this sector occupied the leading position among the industrial exporting countries. On the other hand, the chemicals industry proved to be resistant to crisis, increasing its sales by 4.3 percent, although production capacities available to the major groups were not quite used to their full extent.

The general economic situation also represented a challenge for the “Grand Coalition” of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, which turned to instruments of economic policy with its “Concerted Campaign”, passing the Stability Act and adopting a “medium-term financial plan”, as well as reforming the financial system. This bolstered the federal structure in terms of decision-making in fundamental economic policy.

Annual report 1967 (German)