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Germany’s Economy Stagnates as Consumers Begin to Worry

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Growth in Germany came to a halt in the last quarter of 2019 as consumers became more cautious about spending, leaving the economy vulnerable as it begins to feel the effects of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Economic growth in Germany was zero from October through December, the Federal Statistics Office said on Friday, down from 0.2 percent growth in the previous quarter. The chances that Germany will bounce back during the current quarter are slim because of the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has hobbled one of Germany’s most important customers and suppliers.

Still, the economic performance was better than some economists had expected. A steep decline in orders for German industrial goods had led to predictions of a recession. Overall growth for 2019 was 0.6 percent, compared with 1.5 percent in 2018.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.