More than 70 per cent of fossil-based sources of energy – oil, gas and coal – originate abroad. German companies also import many of the metals needed in industry.
The economic success of the manufacturing sector thus depends on metal prices, which, as shown by the industrial metal price index maintained by the German Economic Institute (IW), have more than quadrupled in the last decade. The index weights such raw materials as copper, aluminium, iron ore and gold according to their share in German imports. The increasing prices of metals and fossil fuels are forcing companies to use these raw materials more economically, for example by recycling them and deploying more efficient machinery.