Overall economic development

After the more positive global economic trend estimate in 2017, the IMF made an upward correction in its autumn forecast, also for the following year. Compared to earlier estimates, 2018 growth is now estimated to be plus 3.7 %, instead of 3.6 %. However, the organization at the same time suggests that risks continue to exist, particularly in relation to political uncertainty. Other factors include possible stress resulting from a change in monetary policy, increasing protectionism, financial turbulence in emerging markets and low inflation in developed countries.

The assumed progress in the emerging markets and developing countries will once again contribute positively to global economic growth. The IMF estimates economic growth of 4.9 % in these countries in 2018, following 4.6 % in 2017. High commodities prices supported the increase. The upward trend in Asian countries may also reach the prior-year level of 6.5 % again. This is also the case in China, which is important for the copper market.

In contrast, the outlook for developed countries is generally subdued, which can be seen in a reduced growth rate of 2.0 % compared to 2.2 % in 2017. There are differing forecasts for the large economic areas of the USA and the euro zone. For the USA, a good financial situation and strong business and consumer confidence point to continued good development, so that a slight increase to 2.3 % is expected for 2018 (2017: 2.2 %). In the euro zone, the IMF sees 2018 economic growth as occurring somewhat more moderately after the previous year’s high, and estimates it at 1.9 % (2017: 2.1 %). This also applies for Germany, where a decline from 2.0 % to 1.8 % could occur. The concrete impact of Brexit continues to be a significant risk factor in the European Union.

The influences from European and German energy and environmental policy, which are important for us, are difficult to forecast in detail.