Pay restraint put Germany back on track but at a cost. It has left the economy more unbalanced than ever. Exports are super-competitive. In last year’s annual health-check, the IMF said Germany’s real effective exchange rate was undervalued by 10-20%. Consumer spending, meanwhile, remains depressed. Despite abundant jobs growth, the share of GDP going to households has fallen from 65% in the early 1990s to 60% or below, to the benefit of corporate profits (see chart 4). The rate of household saving, however, has not changed much: it is currently 9.8%, exactly in line with its 20-year average.
The good and bad in Germany’s economic model are strongly linked
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