Annual Report 2023

Group Management Report

Development of the global economy

Our planning is based on the assumption that global economic output will grow overall in 2024 compared with 2023, albeit at a slower pace. The persistently high inflation in major economic regions and the resulting restrictive monetary policy measures taken by central banks are expected to continue to dampen consumer demand. We continue to believe that risks will arise from protectionist tendencies, turbulence in the financial markets and structural deficits in individual countries. In addition, continuing geopolitical tensions and conflicts are weighing on growth prospects; risks are associated in particular with the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the confrontations in the Middle East. We assume that both the advanced economies and the emerging markets will show positive momentum on average, but with below-average growth in gross domestic product (GDP).

We also expect the global economy to recover in 2025 and continue a path of stable growth until 2028.

Europe/Other Markets

In Western Europe, we expect a comparatively low rate of economic growth in 2024. The relatively high overall level of inflation, albeit projected to taper off further as the year goes on, poses a major challenge for consumers and companies alike, as do the relatively high interest rates. It is therefore possible that the European Central Bank (ECB) might make the first cuts in key rates of interest as early as 2024 to support the eurozone economy.

We likewise anticipate a higher growth rate compared with the prior year in Central Europe in 2024 with continuing but less dynamic price increases. Meanwhile, economic output in Eastern Europe should recover further following the heavy slump in 2022 as a result of the Russia Ukraine conflict and the relatively strong increase in 2023.

For Türkiye we expect positive, albeit slower GDP growth than in the reporting year given high inflation and a weak local currency. The South African economy will probably be characterized by political uncertainty and social tensions again in 2024 resulting from high unemployment, among other factors. Growth is expected to be higher than in the previous year but remain at a low level.


We expect only low growth in GDP in Germany in 2024. Meanwhile, averaged over the year, we anticipate that inflation will fall further but remain relatively high. The labor market situation is likely to deteriorate.

North America

We anticipate subdued economic growth in the USA in 2024, accompanied by a worsening labor market situation. Similarly to the ECB, it is possible that the US Federal Reserve might start cutting its key interest rate as early as 2024. Further inflationary trends will play a decisive role in possible adjustments to the key rate, as will developments in the labor market and in the general economic situation. Economic growth in Canada is likely to be at a relatively low level, while economic output in Mexico is expected to expand at a somewhat faster pace by comparison.

South America

In all probability, the Brazilian economy will record a slightly positive rate of growth in 2024. In Argentina, economic output is likely to deteriorate further with very high and rising inflation levels and depreciation of the local currency.


The Chinese economy is expected to grow at a relatively high level in 2024, albeit at a somewhat lower rate than in the reporting year. We likewise expect a relatively high rate of positive GDP growth for the Indian economy in 2024. Japan is expected to post only low growth in economic output.