A Commentary by Stefan Kaiser
Germany's booming economy and plummeting unemployment has long insulated the country from the euro crisis on Europe's periphery. Those times, however, are coming to an end. The German economy is now showing it is vulnerable after all, and Chancellor Merkel will now be forced to make sacrifices.
There they are again: the traders with sad eyes and the stock price displays showing jagged lines sloping downward. In the last 10 days, the DAX, Germany's blue-chip stock index, has fallen by 16 percent. On Monday it fell below the 6,000 point benchmark for the first time since January and has continued its plunge on Tuesday. Has the crisis, which for so long seemed to leave Germany untouched, finally reached Europe's largest economy?
The stock slump is a warning signal, just as it was last summer, when the DAX lost 30 percent within just a few weeks, sparking a wave of politicking. One euro summit followed the next, resulting in ever larger bailout funds. Meanwhile, the German government tried to battle the problem by simply banning certain bets on sinking share prices. The widespread belief in Germany was that only the financial markets were acting up.