Economic Outlook

Global economy

In 2019, a year marked by uncertainty, the global economy is projected to grow at a slightly slower rate than in the previous year. The key reasons for this development include increasing protectionism causing adverse effects on global supply chains, the slowdown in China’s growth, geopolitical risks in the Middle East and political uncertainties in the eurozone.

In the European Union (EU), growth is anticipated to drop to approximately 1.3%. Despite domestic demand remaining solid thanks to further declines in unemployment figures and nonrestrictive fiscal policy, foreign economic factors such as a continued trade conflict with the United States and the ongoing negotiations on the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU will have a dampening effect. These factors have an impact on export-oriented business in Germany, in particular; weaker growth of around 1.0% is therefore expected.

The U.S. economy’s generally positive performance is expected to continue in 2019, driven by factors including a reduction in corporate/income taxes. However, further wage increases and stepped up import restrictions carry the risk of higher inflation rates in the medium term and the start of an economic downturn.

China’s economy should continue to grow relatively robustly in 2019 – although at a somewhat slower pace than in 2018. There is also the increasing emergence of the conflicting goals of reducing macroeconomic imbalances and attempting to mitigate the negative effects of the economic dispute with the United States.

Economic Outlook










forecast 2019






1 Real growth of gross domestic product, source: IHS (Global Insight), as of February 2019






European Union





of which Germany










of which United States










of which China





Main customer industries2

In 2019, we anticipate the global automotive industry to grow somewhat, driven by a recovery in Asia. Our global growth forecast for this year is 1%.

For 2019, we anticipate that the global construction industry will see stable growth of slightly over 2% compared with the previous year. A continued recovery in Eastern Europe and Latin America, a stable investment climate in North America and the ongoing positive performance in Asia will contribute to this development despite significant weakening in Western Europe.

Growth in the global electrical, electronics and household appliances industry is predicted to weaken considerably in 2019 and to come in at only slightly above 2%. Equal growth is forecast for the industrialized and emerging economies.

We expect the global furniture industry to expand at around 3% in 2019. The main driver here continues to be the Asia-Pacific region with growth of approximately 4%. For Europe and Latin America, we also project a positive trend at the previous year’s level. Following stagnation with zero growth in 2018, we anticipate that North America will once again see a positive growth rate of approximately 1%.

2 Covestro’s estimate, based on the following sources: LMC Automotive Limited, B+L, CSIL (Centre for Industrial Studies), Oxford Economics