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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Europe’s economic recovery in peril as fourth Covid wave sweeps the continent

Of the “big four” eurozone economies, Germany is most at risk with case numbers lower and vaccination rates higher in France, Italy and Spain.

A Covid clampdown would only add to pressures already building on the German economy from supply chain problems hitting its car sector and inflation, which the Bundesbank predicts will hit close to 6pc.

Berenberg predicts German growth will now stagnate in the fourth quarter while Capital Economics warns that Austria’s lockdown will wipe 1.5pc off its GDP if it lasts three weeks. 

“We assume that some German regions may have to adopt Austrian style measures but that the bulk of Germany will not fully go down the Austrian route”, says Schmieding.

The Austrian lockdown was likely to cost its economy €117m a day, with restrictions that are left in place on the unvaccinated costing €41m a day afterwards, according to Wolfgang Mueller of the Vienna Center for Electoral Research’s Institute for Government.

Its capital, meanwhile, has become a polarised place with splits widening between pro and anti-lockdown supporters.

While Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg only took office in October after a corruption scandal engulfed his predecessor Sebastian Kurz, and he does not face a public vote until 2023, Mueller argues that will not increase the standing of either leader. 

“The People’s Party campaigned over the summer that the Covid crisis had passed, it was over. That was not quite true,” the professor says.

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