The various products made from industrial gases and related services and technologies are used in almost all branches of industry, but also in the foodstuffs technology, medicine and research and science sectors. For this reason, gross domestic product (GDP) is a highly relevant indicator for the Messer Group’s performance.
In 2017, expectations for global economic growth were well exceeded. According to analyses of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1 and the World Bank2, the pace of growth accelerated significantly year-on-year. According to the World Bank2, real global GDP is estimated to have increased by 3.0 % in 2017, whereas an increase of 2.4 % was recorded in 2016. The growth trend was virtually synchronous worldwide. The GDP-growth rate picked up in both the emerging and developing countries and the developed industrialized countries. However, in 2017 too, there were still two-speed GDP growth rates, although both at a generally higher level, currently estimated at 4.3 % (2016: 3.7 %) for the emerging and developing countries and 2.3 % (2016: 1.6 %) for the developed industrialized countries.1
Economic development in Europe, in line with the global economic acceleration, improved appreciably in 2017. According to the figures of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)3 GDP in the euro area rose by an estimated 2.4 % in 2017. If this figure turns out to be correct, the growth rate in the region would have accelerated by a further 0.6 percentage points compared to the previous year. As far as the larger economic areas are concerned, a corresponding acceleration in GDP-growth was recorded in Germany, France and Italy. Only Spain experienced a slight slowdown in GDP-growth. That said, with an estimated growth rate of 3.1 %, Spain remained the faster-growing of the larger economic areas in Europe. Estimated GDP-growth in Europe outside the euro area was again stronger in 2017 than in the euro area, as illustrated by the examples of Slovenia (4.9 %), Poland and the Czech Republic (both 4.3 %) and Hungary (3.9 %).
In China, GDP-growth in 2017, contrary to expectations, did not fall off further but, according to World Bank estimates, even increased from 6.7 % in 2016 to 6.8 %. The Chinese Government is continuing in its endeavor to reduce the Chinese economy’s dependence on exports by boosting domestic demand, with a corresponding focus on consumption and services. So far, however, this has not caused China to lose its top spot in the world’s GDP-growth table.
1 World Economic Outlook, Update January 22, 2018
2 Global Economic Prospects, January 2018
3 OECD Economic Outlook – No.102, Update November 2017