Macroeconomic and sectorspecific parameters1

For the second consecutive year, the world’s economy has slowly limped along in 2013. Overall, global economic output has even lagged behind the previous year’s level with a projected level of 2.1 per cent (12M 2012: 2.4 per cent). At the beginning of the year, many European countries still found themselves in recession. During the first quarter of 2013, quarter-on-quarter economic growth in the eurozone declined for the sixth consecutive quarter. Government budget consolidation efforts have continued to impact economic growth in many European countries. At the same time, unemployment in the eurozone has risen to record levels. Both of these developments have eroded consumers’ disposable income and stifled buying power. Only as the year progressed was the eurozone able to climb out of the longest recession in its history. Overall, recovery in 2013 has remained muted and the economy has shrunk once again.

Weak demand from Western Europe has impeded economic growth in other regions. Due to its strong trade ties with Western Europe, Eastern Europe has been particularly hit hard by this trend. As a result, exports to and direct investments from Western Europe have continued to remain at a low level. At the same time, governments’ austerity policies have also hurt consumer demand in Eastern European countries. For these reasons, economic growth in this region in 2013 has remained below the previous year’s weak level.

Although the Asian countries have continued to produce high growth rates overall, economic growth has slowed, particularly in China and India. In India, the high current account deficit led to a marked currency devaluation. Most other Asian countries where METRO GROUP operates have also experienced negative currency adjustments. Nevertheless, Asia has still produced the most growth in global comparison in 2013.

1 The numbers indicating the development of gross domestic product in the chapter on macroeconomic and sector-specific parameters represent the entire years of 2012 and 2013. This is because comparable, uniform 9M figures are not available for all countries. As such, the figures for 2013 represent projections. The qualitative statements in the text refer to the reporting period for the short financial year.

As a consequence of weak global economic growth, consumer prices have not risen during the period under review as much as they did in the previous year. By contrast, food prices have continued to rise in many countries despite the global economic slump as a result of persistently high prices for food commodities. At times, food-price inflation has risen even higher in 2013 than in the previous year. In the eurozone, for example, the rise in food prices has totalled around 3 per cent. By contrast, consumer prices have all in all increased by only about 1.5 per cent.

In emerging countries, where a large share of disposable income is used to buy food, this development has once again posed a major problem for consumers.

Development of gross domestic product in key global regions and Germany

Percentage change year-on-year

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20121

20132

Source: Feri

1

Previous year’s figures may deviate from the Annual Report 2012 in the event final figures were not yet available at the reporting date

2

Forecast

World

2.4

2.1

Germany

0.7

0.5

Western Europe (excl. Germany)

–0.5

–0.3

Eastern Europe

1.7

1.1

Asia

3.9

3.9