21 Dec 2022, 12:59
Edgar Meza

Resource shortage hit Germany already before Russia's war, more recycling indispensable - agency

Die Zeit / dpa

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Hanover has found that Germany's dependence on increasingly costly raw material imports was already intensifying before the war in Ukraine and it is now calling for more recycling of metals, according to a dpa report carried by Die Zeit. The state-owned agency BGR, which analyses the global commodity markets on behalf of the economy ministry, stressed the vulnerability of Germany’s economy with regard to the rising costs. It found that the total amount of raw materials imported into Germany in 2021 grew by around 3 percent to almost 400 million tonnes compared to the previous year. At the same time, however, costs skyrocketed by more than 50 percent to an all-time high of 211 billion euros. Commodity prices rose significantly following the corona crisis, as demand for imported raw materials picked up again prior to the start of the war in February this year.

"Germany remains heavily dependent on imports, especially for metal and energy raw materials," said the BGR’s Sören Henning, who oversaw the report. Energy and metal raw materials accounted for about half of Germany’s import expenditure in 2021. The BGR noted that industrial and precious metals as well as cobalt and lithium, which are essential for electromobility, have become significantly more expensive. The institute said greater efforts in the recycling of metal raw materials could also counteract the upward trend in prices and the delivery problems in international trade. While domestic extraction of natural gas and firedamp fell slightly by 0.1 percent, and of crude oil by 4.7 percent, the production of lignite increased by 17.6 percent compared to 2020.

A recent report commissioned by the economy ministry highlighted Germany’s dependence on raw materials and laid the groundwork for a new resource strategy that aims to improve resource supply security.

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