Der SpiegelDer Spiegel

Energy crisis fallout: How bad will the German recession be?

By Cornelia Schmergal, Gerald Traufetter, Simon Book, Kristina Gnirke, Henning Jauernig, Isabell Hülsen, Martin Hesse, Simon Hage, Florian Diekmann, Matthias Kaufmann and Michael Brächer

14 Sep 2022 · 13 min read

Editor's Note

Germans may soon be hoarding toilet paper again, like in the early pandemic days. Der Spiegel reports on the economic crisis in Germany—and grapples with the question of just how bad things will get.

To get a better idea of what lies ahead for the German economy, you can go out and talk to executives in the automotive industry and scholars of the economy; you can study inflation data and share prices. But it's probably also enough just to take a look at an indispensable, everyday product: toilet paper.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the product served as a gauge of the level of Germans' anxiety. The steeper the rate of infection, the emptier the shelves. Manufacturers of the hygiene product were even among the beneficiaries of the pandemic. Now, worries are once again growing across the country about potential shortages of toilet paper, only this time for completely different reasons. Hakle, a household brand name in Germany founded almost 100 years ago, last week filed for bankruptcy in self-administration.

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