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The year 2006

With growth in terms of gross domestic product across the world running at 5.4 percent, 2006 saw the global economy remain on an expansionary course, supported in the first six months by the healthy US economy and in the second half of the year by the positive economic situation in the EU and Japan. Added to this were the continuing high rates of growth in the countries of the Far East (including Singapore: 7.9%, Hong Kong: 6.8%, South Korea: 5.0%, the Republic of China (Taiwan): 4.6%). The high prices of raw materials across the board exerted a braking effect, but also ensured that the supplier countries such as Russia raked lucrative takings into the national coffers.

In Germany, the economy was also seen to be in good health, with gross domestic product rising by 2.8 percent. The driving force here was private consumption once again, which also picked up under the effect of the increased rate of VAT, falling unemployment figures and rising levels of income. On the other hand, the construction sector managed to end a downward trend which had persisted over the last 10 years, recording growth of 4 percent, which was due predominantly to brisk corporate investment, thus making a significant proportional contribution towards the upturn in the general economy in Germany. Although German products had to deal with the consequences of the strong euro and rising prices in the dollar countries, exports - which once again rose by 13.7 - remained the pillar on which the economy was based. Overall, German industry recorded growth in sales of 6.5 percent, with both the chemicals industry (+6.4 percent), which generated an increase in its foreign business in particular (+7.9 percent) and the traditionally export-oriented mechanical engineering sector (= 9.8 percent, with the export share of overall growth rising to 55.7 percent) producing very good ratios.

Annual report 2006