The Rhine River Is Rising. That's Good News for the German Economy
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It hurt oil refiners, steel makers and petrochemical companies, bashed industrial production and almost helped to tip the country into a recession, but the dried-up Rhine river is finally flowing freely again -- offering a fillip to the German economy.
Barges that handle hundreds of fuel shipments up and down the river each year are now able to reach all destinations fully loaded -- something they’ve not been able to do for months, according to a note on Wednesday from Rotterdam-based broker Riverlake Barging. Water levels at many locations are now back to normal for the time of year.
The slump in the river’s water levels dented Germany’s growth by 0.4 percent in the final quarter of 2018, and by 0.3 percent in the preceding three months, according to estimates from JPMorgan economist Greg Fuzesi in January. Fuzesi said at the time he anticipated a 0.55 percent contribution to gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year as the river’s water levels normalize.
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