Economic environment

After the most severe recession since 1945, the global economy showed signs of further recovery in 2010. Often supported by massive fiscal and monetary policy measures, economic activity picked up all over the globe. In the eurozone, overall momentum, partly overshadowed by the problem of escalating national debt, fell short of potential growth (growth with normal capacity utilisation), except in the second quarter. But the trend in the individual member states varied greatly. While Germany, Austria and Finland again experienced an upturn, Spain, Greece and Ireland persisted in a deep recession. Although economic growth in the eurozone economy may not have exceeded 1.7% in 2010, Austria again displayed higher momentum with expected growth of 2.0%. The USA continued to be confronted by high unemployment rates and the strained real estate market situation; however, it did finally pick up on speed.