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The year 2004

The economic revival in the United States and the continuing high rates of growth in the countries of the Far East were the primary reasons for the global economy growing as dynamically in 2004 as it had last done in the 1970s. Global gross national product was up by 5.1 percent and global trade by around 9 percent. In addition, a stimulating effect on the global economic climate was exerted by the continuing good peripheral conditions for companies in terms of financing new investments along with price increases in the equity markets. Globally, production recorded gains of around 4.5 percent. With figures of 2.8 to 3 percent, the industrialised countries in North America and Europe achieved growth rates which once again failed to keep up with the rapid industrial development occurring in numerous countries in Eastern Europe (6 to 8 percent) or in China (around 10 percent). In the wake of the sound global economy, the German economy also managed to improve its economic figures, which had been poor for the last three years, without, however, managing to create any self-perpetuating growth. Above all, it was the healthy export economy in the first half-year which suffered in the second half-year under the significant rise in the price of oil and the strong increase in the value of the euro that allowed gross domestic product to rise by 2 percent. With the participation of almost all segments, the industrial sector drove growth in sales up by 5.6 percent. Metal production rose by 16.2 percent, coal mining by 12.4 percent, the automotive industry by 10 percent, mechanical engineering by 7.1 percent, electrical engineering by 6.3 percent and the chemicals industry by 4.6 percent. By way of contrast, the economic situation in the clothing and furniture industries remained under pressure.


Annual report 2004