Last year was dominated by drama from the Euro zone and the constant worry as to whether or not the currency bloc would be able to keep afloat during tough times. With a number of debt crises, rioting, and threats to leave the currency altogether, this group of countries has certainly been under a fair amount of scrutiny over the past few months. But at the head of it all has been Germany, not because they are worse-off, but because they are the powerhouse economy of the region, and are expected to lead the way during times of turmoil.
As such, economic data from the Germans seems to take a heavier weight than from any other country, making this week especially important for this country. Germany will release several key data points through out the week that could have significant impacts on the already uncertain future of Europe. Today will see the release of real GDP growth for 2011 from the Germans. That figure came in at 3.6% last year, but is expected to drop to about 3.0%. But the news isn’t all bad, as the past few months have seen the nation make strides to recover from recent headwinds.
According to analysts “Germany’s economy may still drive the region’s expansion this year, with gross domestic product rising 0.8 percent, according to the European Commission. In France and Italy, GDP may increase 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, it said. In 2013, German GDP will probably rise 1.5 percent”. With this in mind, the euro zone may be in for a bit of relief in the coming months.
In light of today’s big announcement, the MSCI Germany Index Fund (EWG) should be relatively active in trading. This fund measures the performance of the German equity market, which yielded losses of roughly 14.8% in 2011. Top holdings in the fund include Siemens, Deutsche Telecom, as well as Deutsche Bank. If the GDP growth for the year comes in better than expected, look for EWG to make a nice jump; likewise, a negative report could wreak havoc on the fund throughout the day and remainder of the week.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.