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The year 1990

In contrast to the early 1980s, the rate of growth of the global economy fell again. With the global peripheral conditions deteriorating over the course of the year – due in part to the military conflicts in the Persian Gulf – at year-end, the rate of growth recorded around the world was 2.2 percent in real terms. Within the group of industrialised nations, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden and France were among the countries with weaker growth figures. By way of contrast, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany recorded above average growth rates in 1990.

With foreign trade presenting record balance sheets, domestic investment reaching record values (capital investments increased by 12.4 percent, building investments by 11.4 percent, investment in plant and equipment by 7.1 percent), private consumption increasing steadily by 4.4 percent, prices remaining stable and the impending reunification of Germany (and the opening up of numerous Comecon states within the context of die Wende, the major upheaval taking place in Eastern Europe), and demand for consumer and investment goods being stimulated, the economy of West Germany presented a distinctly sound picture. Gross domestic product in real terms rose by 4.5 percent - a rate of growth which had not been achieved in the Federal Republic at any time since 1979.

Strong domestic demand also kept the production sector on track for success, driving its sales up by around 4.5 percent in real terms. Germany's chemicals industry was caught up in the rather complex situation affecting the sector across the world (suffering in numerous countries from, for example, weak demand in the automotive sector and in the textiles industry), achieving a lower level of growth than in the previous year, at only 1.6 percent. Conversely, the strong interest being shown in tool making, printing, paper and textile machinery kept mechanical engineering well on course, with the sector generating increased sales, up 8.3 percent.

Annual report 1990 (German)