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The year 1974

For the global economy in 1974 the “German Economic Research Institute” correctly identified “more serious unsolved problems than in the past”. Unemployment, high rates of inflation, famine, energy shortages and a global economic downturn overlapped and set limits to global growth. The USA experienced its worst crisis since the 1930s, and Western Europe a far-reaching recession. Within the group of OECD states, gross national product fell by 0.3 percent in real terms. In the Federal Republic, the economic situation continued to deteriorate. While the increase in orders on the books of the processing industry still gave some hope of the oil crisis being overcome quickly, there were other indicators that pointed in a different direction: gross national product was close to stagnating at +0.4 percent, unemployment figures were up 2.6 percent, the rate of inflation rose to close to 7 percent, demand in the capital goods industry continued to fall, and net industrial production collapsed in almost all sectors. The economic crisis policy management of the Federal Government, which had adopted a special economic programme and increased investment, was initially unable to rein in the slump in the long term. However, the chemicals industry proved to be less susceptible to the crisis, increasing both its sales and net production (1973: DM 65.17 billion, 1974: DM 86.93 billion). In terms of sales, the large-scale BASF Group even found itself at the top of the list of the world's largest chemical companies. Mechanical engineering also displayed stable progress in the crisis. Overall sales increased from DM 69.17 billion in the previous year to DM 76.39 billion, with workforce numbers remaining almost constant (1973: 1,086,400, 1974: 1,089,200).

Annual report 1974 (German)