Truck traffic also collapsed due to flu
Dhe truck traffic on the German autobahns is down in December because of the flu epidemic and days of minus temperatures slumped more than at any time since the beginning of the corona pandemic. The mileage of toll trucks with at least four axles on federal autobahns fell by 4.9 percent on the previous month, adjusted for calendar and seasonal effects. “This is the sharpest decline since the slump in mileage in April 2020 as a result of the corona pandemic,” as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Monday. Compared to the same month last year, the drop was even greater at 6.1 percent. “The significant decline in December 2022 is likely to be due, among other things, to the onset of winter and high sickness rates,” the statisticians provided an explanation for this.
In addition to the corona pandemic, the wave of influenza and other respiratory diseases have recently caused full clinics and many absenteeism from work. The one caused by the current wave of influenza sick leave According to calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), in the worst case – if the wave continues to rise and lasts for a long time – the German economy could cost the German economy more than 40 billion euros.
The truck mileage on motorways is closely monitored by economists: it provides early indications of the current economic development in industry, since economic activity also generates and requires transport services. “The clear minus in the toll index is certainly a signal that should be kept in mind,” said Commerzbank economist Ralph Solveen. “However, it is not enough for me to already announce a significant deterioration in industrial production, which has held up very well so far due to the high order backlog.” The connection between the toll index and production is quite strong in terms of the trend, but more so in the case of the individual monthly values weak.
Significant differences depending on the federal state
However, the decline at the end of the year varied greatly from region to region. The biggest slump in truck toll mileage was in Lower Saxony with minus 6.5 percent compared to the previous month, followed by Bavaria (-5.0), Thuringia and Saxony (each -4.8). In Baden-Württemberg (-1.1 percent), Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland (each -1.3 percent), the decline was below average.
Cross-border traffic – which measures the number of people entering and exiting Germany’s border – fell by 4.8 percent last month. “The sharpest decline was in cross-border trips to and from the Czech Republic,” it said. A minus of 8.3 percent was registered here. Cross-border truck traffic to and from Denmark (-8.1 percent) also fell sharply.
Despite the energy crisis, material shortages and high inflation, the German economy surprisingly grew by 0.4 percent in the summer quarter. However, most experts assume that it contracted slightly at the end of 2022 and could slip into recession at the beginning of 2023.