ROUNDUP/USA: Inflation rate rises more strongly than expected

WASHINGTON - Inflation in the USA unexpectedly accelerated significantly in March. Consumer prices rose by 3.5 percent compared to the same month last year, the US Department of Labor announced in Washington on Wednesday. Analysts had expected an average rate of 3.4 percent. In February it had been 3.2 percent.

Economy: Government must finally act due to weak growth

BERLIN - In view of the weak growth in Germany, the leading business associations have called on the federal government to take action. "If the growth potential remains as low as currently foreseeable, the country will not be able to meet the major challenges financially and socially," the leading associations announced on Wednesday after Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) took part in a closed meeting. Necessary structural reforms had not been carried out in recent years.

ROUNDUP: WTO lowers world trade forecast after last year's downturn

GENEVA - According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), global trade in goods has shrunk by 1.2 percent in 2023 and is expected to grow by 2.6 percent this year. In its latest forecast on Wednesday in Geneva, the organization thus painted a more pessimistic picture than in October. At that time, it had forecast growth of 0.8 percent for 2023 and 3.3 percent for 2024.

ROUNDUP: More than one in five at risk of poverty

WIESBADEN - The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Germany remains high. As the Federal Statistical Office announced on Wednesday based on the initial results of a survey on income and living conditions (EU-SILC), a good 17.7 million people were affected by this in 2023. That was 21.2 percent of the population. Compared to the previous year, the figures remained almost unchanged.

IWH: Number of company bankruptcies at record level in March

HALLE - According to the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the number of company insolvencies rose to a new high in March. Since the IWH began its survey in January 2016, there have never been more company bankruptcies, the IWH announced on Wednesday. At 1,297 insolvencies, the current figure is 35% higher than in March last year. The number of company insolvencies will remain above the pre-corona level for many months to come, explained Steffen Müller, head of the IWH department responsible for insolvency research. However, early indicators show that insolvency figures could fall slightly again from May.

Dekabank chief economist Kater: 'The big wave of inflation is over'

FRANKFURT - Consumer prices are still rising faster than the European Central Bank (ECB) would like - but the great wave of inflation with inflation rates of more than ten percent is over. This was the assessment of Dekabank chief economist Ulrich Kater in an interview with the financial news agency dpa-AFX on Wednesday. "The outright inflation panic, which quite rightly prevailed in parts of the population, is behind us," the economist explained.

Survey: German companies complain about unfair competition in China

PEKING - Ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to China, the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK) has drawn attention to the ongoing problems faced by German companies in China. In a survey, around two thirds of German companies operating in China complained of unfair competition, the AHK announced in Beijing on Wednesday. "The expectation is that Chancellor Scholz will explain the challenges we face here," said Maximilian Butek, Managing Director of the German Chamber of Commerce in East China.

Allianz sees increasing risk of unrest in the USA and EU in election year

UNTERFÖHRING - Allianz sees growing risks of political polarization and violence in the international election year 2024 - including Germany. The experts at industrial insurer Allianz Commercial not only see the possible rise of far-right and populist groups and parties as a risk, but also the radicalization of environmental activists and opponents of climate protection. In the analysis published on Wednesday, the company estimates the economic costs of political unrest in seven countries since 2018 at over 13 billion dollars.

Economists criticize research policy: EU left behind in high-tech

MUNICH/BRUSSELS - Economists from France, Germany and Italy have criticized EU research policy as inadequate and bureaucratic. Nobel Prize winner Jean Tirole from the Toulouse School of Economics said on Wednesday: "The EU is losing the race for innovation." Its complete absence in the group of the top 20 tech companies and the top 20 start-ups is threatening. This is at the expense of prosperity and geopolitical influence.

Client note:

ROUNDUP: You can read a summary in the economic overview. There are several reports on this topic on the dpa-AFX news service.