It is particularly encouraging that machinery and equipment investment, which had taken a battering in the course of the economic crisis, already started to pick up again in the third quarter. This means that, with the exception of private consumer spending, all components of aggregate demand were pointing upwards. With a 5% increase, imports actually outpaced exports (+3.4%). This was probably also due to the fact that companies were replenishing stocks. Private consumption dipped sharply in the third quarter (-0.9%), whereby this should be seen more as a normalization following the surprisingly buoyant first half of 2009 rather than as marking the start of a downward trend.