Inflation in Germany accelerated to its highest level in nearly 71 years.
Such data on Thursday, September 29, presented the Federal Statistical Office of Germany.
According to the department, over the past 12 months, consumer prices for goods and services in the country have increased by an average of 10%.
The achieved level of annual inflation was the highest since the end of 1951.
During the year, energy and food prices rose the most in Germany - 43.9 and 18.7%, respectively.
In turn, the cost of consumer goods increased by an average of 17.2%.
Against the backdrop of a rapid rise in prices, business activity in the German economy fell to record levels over the past 2.5 years, according to a study by the analytical agency S&P Global.
According to the company's preliminary estimates, in September the composite PMI index in the manufacturing and services sector of Germany fell to 45.9 points from 46.9 in August.
The last time similar values could be observed back in May 2020, when the country was experiencing the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the third month in a row, the PMI indicator has remained below the critical level of 50 points.
This situation traditionally indicates the development of negative trends in the economy.
“At a time when it seemed that underlying inflationary pressures might ease, a new surge in energy prices has caused business costs to rise faster than in the past five months, which in turn has led to average prices for goods and services have begun to rise again,” said Phil Smith, associate director of economics at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The rise in prices for a number of goods and services also led to a record deterioration in the consumer climate in Germany.
According to the consulting company GfK, in September the corresponding indicator fell to a negative level of -42.5 points, the lowest level in the history of observations.
© Oliver Berg
A similar state of affairs is observed today in other European countries, analysts at the consulting company Oxford Economics say.
According to the organization's assessment, the eurozone economy has already entered a recession, but it is Germany that is waiting for the deepest recession.
“A sharp unexpected rise in inflation in Germany will provoke a decline in GDP, which may have already begun in the third quarter.
Of the major European economies, Germany will suffer the most serious blow to its (economic. -
) activity due to the scale of its industrial sector and the intensity of gas consumption in its work, ”the authors of the report note.
The energy crisis observed today in Germany and other EU countries began back in 2021 at the suggestion of the European authorities themselves.
Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst at the National Energy Security Fund, expressed this position in an interview with RT.
As the specialist recalled, at one time the leadership of the European Union decided to abandon the use of fossil fuels and relied on the development of green energy.
This, in turn, resulted in a drop in investment in the coal and oil and gas industries, which was one of the reasons for the frenetic increase in hydrocarbon prices.
“Due to the initiatives taken, a shortage of energy resources has formed in the European market.
Moreover, the situation with the shortage of raw materials was aggravated by anti-Russian sanctions, as Europe introduced restrictions against Russia, the largest supplier of oil, coal and gas, ”explained Yushkov.
In August 2022, a ban on the import of Russian coal came into force in Europe.
Along with this, the countries of the region began to reduce the import of oil from the Russian Federation, and already on December 5, the EU should have a partial embargo on the purchase of this type of fuel from Moscow.
In addition, the European authorities, for political reasons, refused to launch the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
At the same time, in early September, Gazprom was forced to completely turn off Nord Stream 1, since Western restrictions made it impossible to repair equipment for the pipeline.
At the same time, the pumping of gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline was completely stopped due to restrictions from Poland, and Ukraine halved the transit of gas from the Russian Federation through its territory.
“Now it becomes clear that the political ambitions of European countries turned out to be higher than a reasonable economic policy and now they have to make difficult decisions, sometimes even to the detriment of their business and population.
Many entrepreneurs are forced to stop production and lay off workers, as the activities of companies become unprofitable, ”Nikolay Pereslavsky, an employee of the Department of Economic and Financial Research at the CMS Institute, told RT.
The situation in the economy of the EU - and especially Germany - can further aggravate the state of emergency on the Nord Stream gas pipeline system, experts are sure.
On September 26, a large gas leak was discovered on one of the two strings of SP-2 and on both strings of SP-1 near the Danish island of Bornholm.
Nord Stream 2 AG initially suggested that a “hole” in the pipes could be the cause, and later the Swedish National Seismic Center reported two underwater explosions recorded along the routes of both highways.
Sources in the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel said it was possible sabotage, probably using special forces, such as divers or a submarine.
Meanwhile, Nord Stream AG called the damage to the pipelines unprecedented and found it difficult to name the time frame in which the repair could be carried out.
© Swedish Coastguard
Recall that the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines allow gas to be pumped directly from Russia to Germany, from where the fuel can then be transported to other EU countries.
All four lines of pipelines run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea and in total allow the supply of 110 billion cubic meters.
m of gas per year.
Although SP-2 was never put into operation, and SP-1 did not work in recent weeks, many German specialists and business representatives hoped that after the normalization of relations between Moscow and Berlin, both highways would still be able to open.
However, now there is practically no hope for this, experts believe.
“Germany had an emergency plan all this time - to negotiate with Russia and launch the Nord Streams.
However, now this plan B is no more, and the current situation strategically creates huge long-term risks for Germany, ”said Igor Yushkov.
According to him, purchases of relatively cheap pipeline raw materials from Russia have been the key to the successful development of German industry for many years.
So, due to the discounts provided by Moscow, Berlin has always had a competitive advantage compared to other EU countries, Yushkov explained.
In addition, the transit and re-export of Russian gas at a higher cost to the rest of the EU countries brought additional income to Germany, and the potential launch of Nord Stream 2 could only increase this profit.
This opinion was shared with RT by the head of the analytical department of AMarkets Artyom Deev.
“Now all these trends are broken, and Germany, apparently, will not receive cheap raw materials for a very long time.
On average, the cost of pipeline gas from the Russian Federation is now 30-40% lower than exchange prices in the EU.
Against this background, German business is already declaring with might and main that it intends to transfer its production to countries with cheaper energy resources, ”added Deev.
Moreover, in the long term, the destruction of the Nord Streams makes Germany's energy security dependent on Poland, Ukraine and American LNG, says Fyodor Naumov, managing partner of the PFL Advisors hedge fund.
"Under US control"
As Pavel Zavalny, head of the State Duma Committee on Energy, said on September 29, the restoration of the destroyed SP-1 and SP-2 lines could take at least six months.
At the same time, German security services fear that if damaged pipelines are not repaired quickly, too much salt water will enter and cause corrosion.
In this case, the highways will forever become unusable, writes TASS.
Danish maritime authorities have established a five-mile security zone in the emergency area.
In turn, the Swedish security service launched a preliminary investigation, qualifying the incident as "gross sabotage."
At the same time, the department did not rule out that foreign forces could be behind the incident.
The Prosecutor General's Office of Russia also began its investigation.
A case has been opened under Part 1 of Art.
361 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Act of International Terrorism”).
The Kremlin also admits that the incident at Nord Stream could have been a terrorist attack, and possibly committed at the state level.
On September 29, this position was outlined by the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov.
“The scale of the destruction indicates that this is indeed some kind of act, and, of course, it is very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could take place without the involvement of some state,” Peskov stressed.
Although the investigation of the incident has yet to be carried out, the official authorities of Ukraine and the Baltic countries have already accused Russia of what happened, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the incident "a signal from the Russian Federation."
However, in the Kremlin, such statements were considered "predictable and stupid."
) is absurd.
This is a big problem for us, because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas, all systems are ready for pumping, and this gas is very expensive.
And half of this gas ... has already been planned for our internal balances, ”Peskov explained.
In turn, the MEP and former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on Twitter directly thanked the United States for the state of emergency on gas pipelines, posting a photo from the scene of the incident with the appropriate caption (later, however, he deleted the post).
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted to the message, wondering if his words could be considered "an official statement about a terrorist attack."
Later, she recalled the threats of US President Joe Biden, who in early February promised to put an end to Nord Stream 2.
There will be no more Nord Stream 2.
We will end it ... I promise you, we can do it, ”Biden emphasized at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
On September 28, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre clarified that the American president allegedly promised not to destroy the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but not to allow it to be put into operation.
Nevertheless, Zakharova called such attempts by the US administration to explain herself pathetic and stressed that the incident on the gas pipelines occurred precisely in the zone controlled by American intelligence.
“This is the trade and economic zone of Denmark and Sweden... These are the very NATO-centric countries that are stuffed with American weapons, these are the very countries that are completely controlled by the American special services.
They are absolutely and definitely under the control of the US intelligence services, which completely control the situation there, ”Zakharova said on the air of Solovyov LIVE.
© Press Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
It is also noteworthy that during September, US military helicopters regularly flew in the area of the later emergency on Nord Stream near Bornholm Island.
According to RIA Novosti with reference to the data of the specialized portal Flightradar24, American aircraft circled for hours over the water area where the gas pipelines run.
“In particular, at the beginning of the month, the US Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter patrolled over the pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Bornholm for three days in a row - September 1, 2 and 3 ... Moreover, the American helicopter, judging by the trajectories on Flightradar24, took off at the barrage area over the Nord Streams from Polish Gdansk, ”the agency said.
At the same time, it is curious that the day after the Nord Stream incident, NATO announced on Twitter that it was testing new unmanned maritime systems.
According to Maria Zakharova, the Russian side requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation around gas pipelines, but it was the alliance countries that demanded to postpone the meeting for one day.
“We requested this Security Council for today, September 29.
What do you think, who did not want to hold it today, who needed more time, who decided to somehow slow it all down and somehow postpone it?
Well, of course, the NATO members - it was the NATO members among the members of the Security Council - did this and therefore said that they could only do it on the 30th, and they couldn’t do it on the 29th.
We will seek an honest and objective investigation," Zakharova stressed at the briefing.