Germany is highly dependent on imports for many crucial raw materials and often relies entirely on other countries to meet demand, according to a study seen by Reuters, which warned that much of this reliance was on authoritarian regimes.
The DIW research institute identified 30 raw materials as particularly critical and placed Germany’s dependence on imports at 100% for 14 of them.
For another three, dependency was ranked at over 95%, the DIW said.
It classed commodities as critical if they were considered essential but also subject to increased supply risk.
“Russia has shown us drastically this year how dependence on raw materials can be used by autocratic regimes as a means of political pressure and what serious economic consequences this dependence has,” said Lukas Menkhoff, head of the DIW’s global economics department.
Energy imports from Russia have plunged since the start of the war in Ukraine, driving up inflation in Europe’s biggest economy and sending it scrambling for alternative sources.
In the case of rare earths – essential for the construction of electric cars and wind turbines – Germany and the European Union as a whole are more than 90% dependent on supplies from China, the study found.
(By Rene Wagner and Rachel More; Editing by Paul Carrel)