While this is partly the result of a cyclical normalisation following a phase of high capacity utilisation, protectionism and geopolitical uncertainties are weighing on global investment activity. This is particularly affecting German industry, which is highly active in the international capital goods business. According to the IW Business Survey of Autumn 2019, companies are entering the coming year with very modest export, investment, employment and production expectations. On the demand side, however, consumer spending – and especially public consumption – remains on the upswing, while investments in construction also continue to grow. Only foreign trade and investment in machinery and equipment are failing to provide any economic stimulus. Provided that the global economy does not deteriorate further – as in 2019, it is expected to grow by around 2 ¾ per cent in the year ahead – and the cost of structural adjustments in certain parts of industry remains under control, some momentum can be expected in the latter part of 2020. After real GDP growth of around 0.5 per cent in 2019, an increase of 0.9 per cent is forecast for the coming year, though this is partly due to public holidays falling at the weekend. Unemployment has edged down again in 2019, but in 2020 the steady fall recorded since 2013 will come to an end.