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Siemens boss expects U.S. to join 2021 global economic recovery

John Revill
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: German engineering company Siemens releases its fiscal Q4 and full-year results

By John Revill

ZURICH (Reuters) - The global economy is performing much better than feared in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser said on Monday, with China the main driver.

While Europe and the United States had been distracted by political developments such as Brexit and the U.S. presidential elections, Asian economies had forged ahead, Kaeser said.

"If it comes to the last month, we have certainly seen a much better development than we would have expected a few months ago," Kaeser said at the Reuters Next conference.

"China has been extremely strong, coming out strong from the first wave of (the) COVID-19 pandemic," Kaeser said, while adding that it was still too early to say that economic problems caused by the coronavirus crisis were over.

Siemens, which had annual sales of 57 billion euros ($69 billion) during its 2020 business year, is seen as a bellwether of the global engineering sector, making products from high-speed trains to factory automation systems and industrial software.

Kaeser, who is due to step down in February after leading the Munich-based company since 2013, said he was optimistic about recovery in the United States after the outcome of the presidential election there.

Forthcoming economic stimulus packages would also help the rebound in the world's largest economy in the second half of 2021 and next year, Kaeser added.

"The United States is an eco-system which always finds its way out, and I am very optimistic this time too," Kaeser said.

"The country has been busy with elections and with everything else, as Europe has been busy with Brexit and the like, you have to say that Asia has been taking that time and using it to move full speed ahead in terms of economic development and growth."

Both Europe and U.S, now need to "get their act together and put the billions and trillions of dollars and euros which have been promised to work," added Kaeser.

"In the U.S.... they are holding all the cards and if they put the money to work in a wise way, there is going to be a very, very, strong second half of 2021 and especially 2022."

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(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Alexander Smith)