German jobless rate drops to 7.3 percent

Germany’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in April from 7.6 percent in March as the strength of Europe’s biggest economy encouraged companies to pick up hiring, official data showed Thursday.

The Federal Labor Agency said the number of people out of work declined by 132,000 from March to a total of 3.07 million. In year-on-year terms, the number of people registered as unemployed was down by 321,000.Unemployment figures typically improve as winter ends, but the labor agency also attributed the latest decline largely to Germany’s powerful economic recovery. (more)

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Germany top for foreign students

Is Germany better at teaching university courses in English than universities in English-speaking countries?

Germany has been named as the most supportive country for overseas students, in an international league table.

Among the attractions for international students is the increasing availability in Germany of courses taught entirely in English, so much so that students can complete degrees without ever having to speak German. (more)

German business confidence eases but still strong

A closely watched index of German business confidence slipped for the second month in a row in April as managers’ outlook for the next half-year eased slightly, but overall sentiment remains historically strong.

The Ifo institute said Thursday that its main index fell to 110.4 points in April from 111.1 in March.

However, the index remains near record highs as Europe’s biggest economy continues to benefit from the rebound in global trade, with exports of autos and industrial machinery still strong — Ifo’s index is only slightly below the 111.3 level it reached in February, which was the strongest reading since German reunification in 1991.

German-commercial-property-markets-on-the-mend

German office markets appear to be on the mend, with the majority of cities reporting year-on-year gains in the first three months of 2011. It follows a period of inactivity and rental falls which started back in 2009, Colliers International has revealed.

The office leasing markets in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart all finished the first quarter of the year up from 2010 figures, with some of the gains quite substantial, according to an analysis by the property consultancy.

“Overall, we noted take up of space totalling 602,200 square meters in the six cities, equivalent to an increase of some six per cent in comparison to the first quarter of 2010. This result is also nearly three per cent above the median for the past five years,” Colliers noted.(more)

Varus Fund expects Germany to lead Europe in economic growth

Germany will lead Europe in economic growth in the first and second quarter of this year as the German government has already put in place fundamentals to ensure financial expansion, including tax relief. The German economy has also been showing better-than-expected performance compared to other European countries which have been on the decline due to their weaker competitiveness and less stringent austerity measures, said Stefan Heieck, co-founder with Frank Siebrecht of Heieck Siebrecht Capital Advisors, Zurich-based adviser to Varus Capital Management’s Varus Varus Fund.

“Our cross reads from the companies points confirms this view, as they already divide Europe into well growing North European and stagnating South European countries. Germans will enjoy the free lunch of the low yield environment. It will result in consumption spending and a revival of the undervalued housing market (the third lowest valued in the world on IMF data). We expect German economic growth to be supported from further improving domestic activity,” Heieck said in the April issue of MondoHedge newsletter.(more)

Germany to revise up growth forecasts: minister

BERLIN — Germany’s economy will expand faster than expected in 2011, a minister said on Sunday, amid reports that the International Monetary Fund and Berlin would revise up forecasts for Europe’s top economy.

Spiegel newsweekly said both the German government and the IMF are now banking on growth of 2.5 percent this year. Berlin is hoping for at least 2.0 percent in 2012 as Europe’s economic powerhouse motors ahead.

The IMF’s previous forecast in November was for 2.2 percent. The official German forecast of 2.3 percent will be updated on Thursday.

“I will take into account the positive developments of recent months. I assume that the forecasts will be better than the current figure of 2.3 percent,” Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle told the Bild am Sonntag weekly.

He declined to reveal the exact figure in advance but warned that “a certain amount of caution” was warranted given the “increasing international risks.”

After suffering a crippling recession in 2009 as a global downturn hit demand for exports, Germany has staged a remarkable economic turnaround, registering its best growth since 1990 last year. (more)

German new car sales speed ahead

Berlin – Germany’s giant auto economy continued to roar ahead in March, the sector federation VDA said Monday, with an 11% jump in new car registrations compared to the same period last year.

Buyers snapped up 328 100 new cars in Europe’s top economy last month, the VDA said in a statement. During the first three months of the year, more than 750 000 cars were sold, an annualised gain of 14%

Car exports also accelerated, according to the VDA, with 1.16 million sent abroad in the first quarter, a rise of 11%. (more)

German economy unfazed by Japanese disaster

Berlin – Germany’s economy roared ahead in the first quarter and there was almost no sign of collateral damage coming from Japan’s triple disaster, the DIW economic-research in Germany said in its monthly report Wednesday.

It forecast that after a relatively weak fourth quarter of last year, Q1 of this year would probably achieve gross-domestic-product growth of 0.9 per cent adjusted for prices and seasonal effects.

Revival in the construction sector after years of delayed investment is driving German growth, Berlin-based DIW noted, painting a rosy picture of the immediate outlook. (more)