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The total passenger volume at German regional airports decreased steadily from 2010 to 2014. In a longer-term comparison, the volume in 2014 was barely 5% higher than in 2005. During the same period, the larger German airports experienced growth of 25.6%. The range of flights available at most regional airports remains small. Therefore, the anticipated positive effects on the local economy are small, as are the transport benefits. With few exceptions, regional airports have been in the red for about the past ten years. In 2013, for example, none of the airports discussed in this paper was able to show a profit. Looking ahead, we remain sceptical with regard to expansion plans at regional airports. It would still be preferable if the federal government were the competent authority on the fundamental question of whether and where airport capacities should be expanded.
German model – has a consensus economy reached its limit? German output growth poised to outstrip potential again in current year. Despite new government spending programmes there should be continued budget surpluses for the time being. Given the strengths of its institutional framework Germany has so far largely been able to avoid the possibility of distributional conflicts feeding through in the shape of higher government deficits and/or rising inflation. Demographic developments, not least, will probably put this resilience to the test. However, a new reform thrust is needed in view of decreasing locational advantages. It remains to be seen whether society will carry through with an update of the Agenda 2010 reforms.
If all goes well, the Iranian economy could begin to reintegrate into the world economy in early 2016. This harbours opportunities especially for Iran itself and its 80 million inhabitants. However, it is also likely to provide a moderate stimulus to world trade and German exports. In addition, increased Iranian oil production could dampen oil prices and thus support the growth of real income of German households.
While the core inflation rate has remained relatively stable since 2011 at an average of slightly above 1% yoy the oil price slump is the main reason for the temporary decline in consumer prices at the start of 2015. However, the oil price rise of some 30% since January and the stabilisation of the EUR exchange rate sent the German inflation rate out of negative territory after just one month and then made it accelerate to 0.7% yoy recently. We therefore expect slightly stronger increases in consumer prices of 0.5% this year and 2.0% in 2016. With our forecast the risks are more pronounced to the downside. The oil price might rise more slowly than expected on account of the global oversupply. In addition, the EUR/USD has now stabilised at above 1.10 after hitting its low in mid-April. Our forecast assumes EUR/USD parity by year-end.
The average age of cars on German roads hit a new record high of nine years at the beginning of 2015. The primary reason for this is the improved quality of vehicles. Although the diesel share of new car registrations has averaged well over 40% in recent years, diesel only constituted 31% of the cars on German roads at last count. The durability of cars is causing the mix of cars in service to change only slowly. The diesel car example suggests that it may take many years before cars powered by alternative technologies constitute a major share of all the cars registered in Germany. The vision of a future with largely climate-neutral or locally emission-free vehicles on German roads by 2050 is virtually unattainable as things currently stand.
Clients with a migrant background are growing in importance as a target demographic for retail banking. In collaboration with Bayreuth University we have carried out an empirical analysis of risk attitudes in this customer group using data supplied by the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Our findings allow implications to be drawn for bespoke advisory services for clients with a migrant background. In effect, banks will be able to raise the quality of their financial advice to the customer's benefit – and tap into a key growth market at the same time.
Germany was an attractive destination for migrants in 2014 for the fifth year in a row. The net migration balance climbed again by roughly 20% on the year and clearly exceeded the 500,000 mark for the first time since 1992. Roughly 1.4 million persons immigrated to Germany, the second highest total in the last 65 years (1992: 1.5 million). Since the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone in 2010 a net 1.7 million persons have migrated to Germany, so despite a shrinking domestic population the total population has expanded by approximately half a million.
Industry 4.0 (also known as integrated industry, industrial internet) is currently the subject of intense debate. This megatrend sets out to change the way goods and services are created and distributed, reshaping the industrial landscape on a national and global scale. China intends to play a leading role in this digital evolution. A wide range of policies have been initiated and sizeable progress in various areas has been made. The country is determined to seize the outstanding opportunity at hand, as the recently unveiled “Made in China 2025” plan underlines. China still has a long road ahead. However, with its new plan it combines a long-term vision with concrete actions in the proclaimed “Year of Innovation”.
The Q1 GDP details provide some comfort relative to the disappointing 0.3% qoq headline number. Final domestic demand was up 0.8% qoq while net-exports as well as inventories both provided a drag. Thus, our 2015 story of GDP growth driven by strong domestic demand remains intact. Despite this, we lower our 2015 GDP forecast from 2.0% to 1.6%. This is primarily due to the weaker-than-expected Q1 GDP growth that provides a lower starting base for 2015. However, we still expect quarterly growth rates to average a healthy 0.4% qoq in 2015. Further topics in this issue: Construction investment: Sharp increase expected, but focus on downside risks, The view from Berlin. German politics: Quarrel among friends and families.