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Germany ETFs Try to Regain Their Footing

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

Germany stocks and country-specific exchange traded funds are trying to find a stable footing after global uncertainty and slowdown concerns weighed on the largest economy in the Eurozone.

Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Germany ETF (EWG) , the largest exchange traded fund tracking German equities, gained 6.3%, the First Trust Germany AlphaDEX Fund (FGM) rose 9.9%, Franklin FTSE Germany ETF (FLGR) added 6.4%, Xtrackers Germany Equity ETF (Cboe:GRMY) increased 6.7% and SDPR Solactive Germany ETF (ZDEU) advanced 5.7%.

Weighing on the German markets, confidence among German businesses weakened in February after output stagnated in the fourth quarter as inventory levels slipped, Bloomberg reports. Nevertheless, health rises in consumption and investment over the coming months are beginning to offset the weakness.

Policy makers are walking a fine line as they try to assess the economic health, with surveys on Thursday showing the persistent manufacturing weakness but improvements in services. Meanwhile, investor confidence has not meaningfully picked up and there have been sharp downgrades to the growth outlook.

Germany’s Bundesbank has insisted there are “no signs that the slowdown is morphing into a downturn.” Looking ahead, consensus forecasts support the outlook, with growth of 0.4% for the first and second quarters of 2019.

Related: Europe ETFs Mired by Geopolitical Risk, Trade Fears

The European Central Bank remain cautious as officials have warned of the worsening outlook for the euro area amid rising risks from global trade disputes, like the U.S.-China trade scuffle, and the threat of a helter skelter Brexit. While the policymakers have raised the prospects of a new policy move, no one has pulled the trigger yet.

“I don’t believe that we’ll get this strong rebound in the first quarter that many thought will come” in Germany, Timo Wollmershaeuser, a senior economist at Ifo, told Bloomberg. “It is a cooling down of the world economy.”

Nevertheless, some believe the worst may be behind us as we pick up pace. For instance, carmakers may finally shift into overdrive after the disruption over the summer.

“Cars have sidetracked the entire economy -- however, in a couple of months, the German economy should be able again to show its true colors,” Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, told Bloomberg. “The German economy is in a better shape than its current reputation.”

For more information on Germany, visit our Germany category.