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28.10.2016
Focus Germany: Subdued industry outlook dampens wage growth
Abstract: German wage growth slowed in H1 2016 and there is a range of factors that are likely to also put a lid on the pick-up in 2017. The impact of labour shortage is limited by material mismatch between the qualifications of the unemployed and those sought by employers as well as substantial immigration flows. High real wage gains have pushed up unit labour costs and weighed on corporate profitability, which is further undermined by low productivity growth. Cautious wage agreements in 2016 on average stipulate only 2% wage increases in 2017. Despite a 4% increase in the statutory minimum wage, aggregate wages should increase by only around 2 ½%. According to our forecasts, next year could see the growth rate for industrial production in Germany drop to 0.5% in real terms. Regarding output in Germany’s large industrial sectors we do not expect major outliers. Also in this issue: “The View from Berlin. All lights on the debates about personalities and tactical gambits.”
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Chemicals industry; Economic growth; Economic policy; Electrical engineering; Exchange rates; Germany; Labour market; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Mechanical engineering; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry; Trade
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04.10.2016
Focus Germany: Difficult times for German savers
Abstract: The policy of low and negative interest rates has had a limited impact on the returns on household financial assets in Germany to date. The nominal total return has averaged 3.4% over the last four years. Even nominal returns on interest-bearing investments did not slip below 2% until 2015 because a large proportion of longer-dated and mostly higher-coupon investments dampened the effect of evaporating market returns. High and stable revaluation gains have also buttressed total returns over recent years. They have probably been enhanced in no small measure by the ECB’s Quantitative Easing programme. Interest income and revaluation effects are likely to be a greater burden in 2016 and 2017. The income return on other assets is also likely to drop on account of the financial market environment. The scope for further significant revaluation gains is likely to be limited given already very high valuations. In 2017 the real total return could even become negative (again).
Topics: Business cycle; Economic growth; Financial market trends; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation
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02.09.2016
Focus Germany: Low returns, political discontent – Germans explore riskier options
Abstract: Against the backdrop of strong Q2 growth and the revision of historic data, we increase our GDP forecast for 2016 to 1.9% (from 1.7%). For 2017 we lower our growth forecast to 1.0% (from 1.3%). Muted wage growth will likely weigh on consumption growth and subdued exports as well as high global uncertainty might negatively impact equipment investments. Further topics in this issue: Fiscal balance, Current account surplus, Retail investors, German industry and View from Berlin.
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; Electrical engineering; Food and beverages; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Mechanical engineering; Monetary policy; Other sectors; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities
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29.08.2016
Germany's massive current account surplus set to decline
Abstract: EMU’s current account (CA) surplus has lent some support to the euro over the past two years at a time of relentless fixed income outflows. Germany is pivotal, as it accounts for 60% of the surplus. Since the rotation of fixed income assets out of Europe is likely to continue (‘Euroglut’) the balance of payments should therefore become even more bearish for the euro. The German surplus is likely to weaken by about 20% to 7% of GDP by the end of the decade due to unfavourable demographic trends, the housing boom and slowing globalisation.
Topics: Demographics; Economic growth; Germany; Housing policy; Intern. relations; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Migration; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Residential real estate; Social policy; Trade
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24.08.2016
German industry: growth in employment likely to end
Abstract: The manufacturing sector is one of Germany's biggest employers. On average, more than 5.2 million people were working in manufacturing in the first half of 2016. This represents an increase of 6.3% compared with the beginning of 2005 – and comes in spite of the deep recession of 2008/2009. In the period under review, job growth was particularly strong in mechanical engineering, the food industry, the rubber and plastics industry, and the metals industry. Expansion of employment in German industry has slowed recently, however. Because of the low rate of global growth and muted investment activity, employment in the industrial sector is likely to stagnate up to 2017 – albeit at a high level.
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Chemicals industry; Economic growth; Electrical engineering; Food and beverages; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Labour market; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Mechanical engineering; Other sectors; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry
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27.07.2016
Focus Germany: ECB helps industry and boosts property prices
Abstract: There is a high level of excess demand in the housing market and it has grown in recent years. Demand for credit is also growing at a correspondingly rapid pace. The supply of credit could be boosted by further monetary stimulus. In the medium term, more buoyant lending is likely to increase interest rate risk. However, if lending growth remains low, there will be increased risk of overvaluations and a house price bubble. This is particularly true when little new housing is financed and lending is largely for existing property. Given the high level of excess demand in the housing market and the fact that office buildings are being converted to residential buildings, office space is also likely to be in short supply in the coming years. As a result, rents in the office market can be expected to rise more strongly, and could – for a time – outstrip the rise in rents in the housing market. Since Chancellor Merkel assumed office in 2005 her term has been dominated by crisis management, which often required leadership and moderation of differing interests in Europe. Managing the UK’s departure from the EU will have top priority for the time being. Nonetheless, Merkel is likely to focus her attention on domestic topics as much as on European ones in the upcoming months given the looming federal elections in autumn 2017. Also in this issue: Fewer insolvencies in German industry.
Topics: Business cycle; Commercial real estate; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Real estate; Residential real estate
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21.07.2016
Fewer insolvencies in German industry
Abstract: The 2008/2009 economic and financial crisis caused the number of insolvency proceedings instituted to increase by 48% in 2009 alone. However, the number of insolvencies has been following a downward trend since then. As a result, fewer proceedings were instituted in 2015 than in 2008 across nearly all sectors of industry. The prospects for this trend continuing in 2016 are good. Over the past few years, the number of insolvencies in any given industry has been significantly influenced by the prevailing economic conditions in that industry and – related to this – the value of the euro against the currencies of major trading partners.
Topics: Auto industry; Chemicals industry; Electrical engineering; Food and beverages; Germany; Mechanical engineering; Textiles and clothing industry
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06.07.2016
Start-ups inspire markets with digital technologies (Fintech #7)
Abstract: Breathtaking. No other word really does justice to the profound changes unleashed by digitalisation and the accelerating pace at which new technologies are appearing. Of course, many of these technologies are still in their infancy and in some cases still have a rather visionary character, but they nevertheless hold unforeseen and lucrative potential. The race for digital technologies and successful monetisation strategies has been on for some time, especially among the large, well-known internet platforms. However, start-ups are increasingly throwing their hat into the ring and causing quite a stir among the business models of established companies. As a result, many innovation-stimulating digital technologies are gradually finding their way into traditional companies where they are evolving into a comparative competitive advantage (not only) for Germany as a business location.
Topics: Banking; Economic structure; Financial market trends; Germany; Information technology; Innovation; Intangible assets; International capital markets; International financial system; Internet; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Sectors / commodities; Social values / Consumer behaviour; Socio-econ. trends; Technology and innovation; Telecommunication; Trade
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04.07.2016
Focus Germany: German consumer vs Brexit
Abstract: The political and economic implications as well as the order of events of the Brexit are currently very hard to predict. We assume that Europe – as usual in recent years – will “muddle-through”. The ECB will not panic, but wait to assess the consequences of the UK’s choice to exit the EU. Due to Brexit we lower our 2017 German GDP forecast to 1.3% from 1.6%. About half of that is due to lower export growth. The other half of the revision results from lower investment in machinery & equipment by German corporates. All told, domestic demand should only feel a marginal impact given that the fundamental drivers – healthy labour market and construction sector – remain intact. Further topics in this issue: German consumers, labour market and Germany in the aftermath of the EU referendum in the UK.
Topics: Brexit; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Labour market; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Social values / Consumer behaviour
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03.06.2016
Focus Germany: Growth and fiscal outlook: Risks remain
Abstract: We revise down our Q2 GDP growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.1% as we expect material payback for Q1 strength. While we remain optimistic with regards to the labour market, we think that the impetus from low oil prices to real incomes is fading. In addition, the mild winter has allowed construction work to be brought forward, albeit the payback might be limited by the strength of underlying construction demand. Given weak export sentiment, falling investment goods orders and lower capacity utilisation, we think investment in machinery & equipment is going to weigh on Q2 growth. We maintain our 2016 GDP forecast (1.7%), though. Despite spending on refugees, the German national budget generated a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2015, the largest since 2000. However, the healthy short and medium-term fiscal outlook only marginally reduces the need for the reform of public finances.
Topics: Business cycle; Construction industry; Economic growth; EMU; European issues; Exchange rates; Fiscal policy; Germany; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Migration; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Trade
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