Germany defies euro with exports, but harder work vital: OECD


FRANKFURT (AFP) — German exports have spurred the economy despite strength of the euro, but social policies should be adjusted to encourage Germans to work and study more, the OECD said on Wednesday.

The OECD expected growth of the biggest European economy to slow sharply “from 2.5 percent in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2009,” it said, shaving downwards estimates released in December of 2.6 percent for 2007 and 1.6 percent for 2009.

Productivity had to rise in the energy and transportation sectors, and education for the poor and immigrants needed to be improved, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

Data on a solid German trade surplus released separately on Wednesday showed that exports of machinery and other goods used to make consumer products continued to help the country plow ahead amid slower global growth.

But the OECD said the workforce could be used to greater effect with longer hours and increased efficiency.

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