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| November 15, 2019

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Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated

November 15, 2019 |

Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated

The German economy, the largest and most influential in Europe, narrowly missed falling into recession last quarter. But with quarterly GDP growth averaging a little over 0% since the third quarter of last year, the Old Continent’s economic powerhouse is facing stagnation.

Also read: Germany’s Financial Crisis Invokes 5-Year Rent Freeze

Dodging Recession by a Hair

With a seasonally adjusted 0.1% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Q3 over the previous quarter, the German economy has surprised analysts who expected it to shrink by 0.1%. The good news comes on top of a revised estimate for Q2, from 0.2 to 0.1% contraction.

In Europe, the generally accepted definition of a recession refers to two consecutive quarters of negative growth, measured on a quarter-on-quarter basis. About the same time last year, Germany barely escaped recession when its GDP fell by 0.2% in the third quarter but then stopped at exactly 0% in the fourth.

According to the country’s official statistics, increased spending by German consumers and the government has helped the economy stay afloat this time. Between July and September, both household and government expenditure rose, the Federal Statistical Office Destatis announced.

Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated

The agency also noted that exports have increased, despite continuing trade tensions, while imports pretty much remained at the levels from the previous quarter. At the same time, construction registered positive indicators. All this was just enough to compensate for the lower German industry figures.

Any positive developments in Germany inevitably affect the rest of Europe. The Eurozone, the area of the monetary union of 19 EU member states, grew by 0.2% in Q3, according to Eurostat. This growth equals the one in the second quarter of 2019 but is still weaker than the growth recorded during the first three months of the year, 0.4%.

Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated

China is a different story, however, one that overshadows the modest German recovery. The ongoing trade war with the U.S. is taking a toll on the People’s Republic and the Chinese economy continues to slow down. China’s fixed-asset investment growth was only 5.2% year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday quoted by Xinhua. The indicator, which reflects capital spent on infrastructure, property, and machinery, is at a record low level.

Meanwhile, investment in the private sector increased 4.4% in October, or 0.3 percentage points less than during the first nine months, which suggests that Chinese companies are more reluctant to make new investments. Industrial production rose 4.7% year-on-year last month, compared to 5.8% in September. Yearly growth in retail sales was 7.2% in October, a 16-year low.

Stagnation Still an Issue

Germany’s narrow escape from recession is not a reason for too much optimism. With an annual growth of only 0.5% in Q3, the German economy is effectively stagnating. Since the third quarter of last year, GDP growth has been averaging around 0.1% quarter-on-quarter. And after maintaining the lowest unemployment rate in the past four decades for the better part of this year, at 3.1 – 3.2%, unemployment in October has been estimated to reach 5%.

Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated

According to Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, the country’s economy “can still be divided into two worlds: the depressive world and the happy-go-lucky one. In the depressive world, there are very few signs of an imminent bottoming or recovery of the manufacturing sector since the summer of 2018. The sector is facing and will continue to face cyclical challenges, as ongoing trade conflicts, Brexit uncertainty and slower Chinese growth, along with structural challenges, disrupt the automotive industry,” he predicted in an article published by the Dutch banking giant.

“In the happy-go-lucky world, private consumption remains solid on the back of low inflation, low interest rates and a still-strong labour market. The construction sector keeps on booming and the government is also inserting some fiscal stimulus,” Brzeski added, quoted by the Guardian. “The main question, however, is how long the happy-go-lucky world can resist the negative impact from the depressive world. The latest developments suggest that the protective shield has started to crumble,” the expert warned.

Do you think Germany will enter into recession in 2020? Share your expectations about the future of Europe’s largest economy in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The post Germany Barely Avoids Recession, Economy Remains Stagnated appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Iranian Grid Explains Electrical Costs Will Fluctuate for Bitcoin Miners

November 15, 2019 |

Throughout the course of 2019, Iran’s government and the country’s energy officials have been creating new guidelines for bitcoin miners setting up data facilities in the oil-rich nation. On Wednesday, Mostafa Rajabi, a spokesperson for Iran’s Energy Ministry, described a new price model for mining operations and prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh) will fluctuate during certain months.

Also Read: Iranians Defy Warning and Share Pictures of Bitcoin Mining in Mosque

Iran’s Energy Ministry Plans to Pay Anyone Who Exposes Illegal Bitcoin Mining Operations

There’s been a lot of reports over the last year detailing how mining operations have migrated to Iran for cheap electricity. After the initial migration, the Iranian government and the country’s power supplier noticed a lot of energy was being used by crypto mining facilities. Following a government announcement about illegal miners, pictures were shared online that showed bitcoin miners housed inside a mosque.

Spokesperson for Tavanir (Iranian power grid) Mostafa Rajabi.

On November 13, Iran’s Energy Ministry spokesperson Mostafa Rajabi explained the country’s new guidelines for mining operations during an interview with IRIB News. Rajabi told the press that anyone who identifies illegal bitcoin operations to the government will be rewarded. Rajabi emphasized that people who expose these facilities will be paid 20% of the recovery damage stolen from the electrical grid.

Fluctuating Electrical Prices

Iran’s Energy Ministry will also prohibit mining digital assets after the peak hours of consumption surpass a threshold of 300 hours annually. During the interview, Rajabi also noted how much bitcoin miners would be charged using the average price for the export of electricity in Iran. During some points of the year, miners could be charged $ 0.08 per kWh (9,650 rials) and during the cold months of the year, miners would only be charged $ 0.04 per kWh. However, during the summer months when electricity is used the most in Iran, electrical prices could quadruple to $ 0.16 per kWh, Rajabi noted. Rajabi disclosed that the new mining rules were initiated when Iran’s summer electrical demand jumped by 7%.

A Bitcoin mining facility in the desert outside of Tehran.

Last June, Iranian law enforcement officials reportedly confiscated 1,000 bitcoin miners from two facilities. This was followed by a bill that was ratified two months later stating that cryptocurrency mining in Iran would be considered a legitimate business. During Rajabi’s interview, he told IRIB News that Iran will help operations that create their own power plants with government incentives. Mining operations that utilize renewable energy sources would be also rewarded, Rajabi stressed.

What do you think about the situation in Iran in regard to bitcoin miners? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, and Pixabay.

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