Global economic developments in the past few months exhibited a relatively high level of stability along with positive fundamentals overall. In most economic regions, this was—and is—based on private consumption and an increasingly aggressive level of private-sector investment activity. Public-sector investment activity, however, shows a lot less momentum, as before, notwithstanding a few exceptions. The breadth and intensity that the global economic expansion has achieved within just a few quarters is surprising nonetheless. These positive developments are being supported by financial markets which, for the most part, are currently stable and predictable. The fact that, these days, critical political developments have less of an impact on economic activity than in the past—even though this can change at a moment’s notice—is what makes the current situation so remarkable.
Geographically speaking, with the exception of the countries of the Middle East as well as portions of Africa and South America, all important economic regions are benefitting from the current upswing; even regions such as Brazil that have been buffeted by crises for years are getting on the growth bandwagon—albeit hesitantly.
A similar yet more differentiated, sector-specific picture emerges for key industries. The automotive industry’s performance remains largely positive and thus unchanged worldwide, and the situation in the consumer goods industry is stable, too. Most recently, stronger growth signals even came from the mechanical engineering and construction industries in a number of regions, whereas growth in the conventional energy sector (electrical energy) is increasingly limited to the emerging markets. The next quarters should offer additional upward potential in the oil and gas sector, especially in terms of pricing, unless political resistance makes this more difficult. Developments in the medium term in aircraft construction must be deemed more volatile than before yet still clearly geared toward growth, whereas the railway sector will probably exhibit regionally varying growth perspectives in the near future for political and economic reasons.
As far as raw materials are concerned, there was an easing in the second quarter of the business year when the price fluctuations at the start of the year (some of which had been erratic, especially with respect to iron ore and coal) were supplanted by a much more controlled development of prices—but this may change again during the winter months. The current economic policies of the United States introduce a level of uncertainty into the future of global commerce, even though the past few months have not seen an intensification of the country’s position relative to the year’s first half.
Against the backdrop of the positive global growth prospects that remain unchanged even at the start of the second half of the business year 2017/18, the substantially positive development in both revenue and earnings that is expected for the business year 2017/18 compared to the previous year, seems to be unchanged secure.