Brexit

The outcome of the UK referendum on 23 June took the markets and politicians by surprise. The decision to leave the EU has economic and political consequences not only for the United Kingdom, but also for its partners in the EU and for the future of European integration. The uncertainty concerning the duration of exit negotiations and agreement on future relations between the EU and the UK are putting a strain on the European economy and are reducing growth prospects for 2017. EU member states, as well as individual industries, are affected by the UK's foreseeable exit to varying degrees. The pending regulatory requirements are immense and range from trade-related matters and access to the European single market (particularly important for the financial industry), to horizontal policies such as migration and social policy and domestic and security policies. Finally, it raises the question of whether the UK's exit will alter the remaining 27 EU members' countries' priorities regarding European policy, including further institutional steps towards stabilising the eurozone.

 

 

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06.04.2017
Focus Germany: Investment: Public, residential – gradually picking up
Abstract: In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election)
Topics: Brexit; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; European issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Globalisation; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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27.03.2017
The future of the EU: Which road to take?
Abstract: The discussion about the future of the EU27 is on. To frame the debate, the European Commission issued a White Paper in early March, including five scenarios to outline what the EU could look like in 2025. There is more than “more or less integration”. In fact, the two scenarios attracting most attention are ideas for a Union with stronger emphasis on differentiated integration and an option trying to reconcile calls for a leaner EU with ambition for integration on key issues. Ideas about multi-speed integration in particular are a sensitive topic among member states. The White Paper only marked the start. There are five further papers planned for Q2 to provide more detail for different policy areas. From a market perspective, the paper fleshing out ideas for the future of EMU to be published towards the end of May should be the key one to watch.
Topics: Brexit; European issues
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23.03.2017
Who is afraid of populists?
Abstract: With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level.
Topics: Brexit; Economic policy; European integration; European issues; European policy issues; Politics and elections
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09.03.2017
Focus Germany: Growth and inflation leave ECB still unfazed
Abstract: At face value the pick-up of GDP growth at the end of 2016 (Q4: +0.4% qoq vs. +0.1% prev.) seems to fit with improving sentiment. However, given its composition we would argue that underlying growth was weaker than the headline suggests. We stick to our below consensus GDP forecast for 2017 (1.1%) and only make cosmetic changes in the details. We are raising our inflation forecast slightly overall for 2017, from 1.6% to 1.7%, compared with only 0.5% in 2016. We still expect core inflation to be only slightly above 1% in 2017. If the signs of global price increases are confirmed, then we could in fact see a more pronounced increase in core inflation, particularly if rising prices translate into second-round effects when wage negotiations are conducted in 2018. (Further articles: German industry, German election campaign)
Topics: Brexit; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; European issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Globalisation; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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25.01.2017
Uncertainty is slowing capital expenditure
Abstract: In view of the pronounced economic and (geo)political uncertainties and the weak starting level, (private-sector) equipment investment in Germany is likely to decrease in 2017 despite a respectable level of capacity utilisation. The interplay of multiple factors is currently causing a high level of uncertainty: the potentially serious impact on Germany in the event of the uncertainties materialising, the continued high number of simultaneous uncertainties, the complexity of many capital expenditure decisions and the lack of confidence in politicians (and/or their ability to come up with solutions). We will present several uncertainty indicators based on news, surveys and financial markets data that provide a way of quantifying the uncertainty.
Topics: Brexit; Demographics; Digitalisation; Economic policy; Energy policy; European issues; Germany; Global financial markets; Globalisation; Intern. relations; International capital markets; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Trade
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24.01.2017
Coping with mixed feelings: What future for European trade policy?
Abstract: It is hard to overstate the importance of trade policy for Europe. The EU28 is the largest trading bloc, the top trading partner for about 80 countries worldwide and ranks 1st for in- and outbound investment. The EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) vary substantially, depending on partners and policy priorities. “New generation trade agreements” go beyond traditional tariff reductions, including issues like services trade, intellectual property or investment. EU agreements to foster trade (and investment), however, have sparked mixed feelings more recently given the backlash against globalisation as well as EU-internal controversies over the power to strike such deals. Yet, the EU’s ability to conclude trade deals is also contingent on political support. Rising scepticism about globalisation means, that (potential) distributional effects of FTAs and their (potential) interaction with national legislation, is going to feature more prominently throughout negotiations and in the public debate.
Topics: Brexit; Economic policy; EMU; European integration; European issues; European policy issues; Globalisation; Intern. relations; Trade
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13.01.2017
Outlook on the German housing market in 2017: Prices and rents in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich
Abstract: Munich remains the most dynamic German city when it comes to property, with its fast-rising population and historically low vacancy rate likely to lead to further price increases for many years to come. Further price rises are also expected in Berlin, although the main factors at play here are the very buoyant labour market and the fact that prices and rents are still relatively low for a European capital city. Of the German cities that were analysed for this report, Frankfurt has shown the lowest increase in prices in the current cycle. However, we are now seeing a Brexit effect, which is driving up prices for family homes in particular. Sluggish rent growth and a high level of construction activity are the most striking trends in Hamburg, which could make the city more sensitive to interest rate movements than other urban centres. The situation is similar in Düsseldorf, where the vacancy rate in the current cycle is relatively high for a large German city. For every city analysed here and for the overall German housing market we anticipate further price increases in the coming years. All the macroeconomic conditions that might signal an end to the cycle – such as a turnaround in interest rate policy, a massive expansion of supply and/or a slowdown in migration to Germany – are not yet fulfilled and it is likely to be several years before they materialise. Consequently, we expect rents and property prices in the major German cities and across the country to continue to rise sharply in 2017.
Topics: Brexit; Cities; Germany; Housing policy; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Residential real estate
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21.12.2016
Focus Germany: Outlook 2017: Solid, despite diminished tailwinds
Abstract: German GDP growth is expected to slow somewhat in 2017 following considerable momentum over the last two years. We note the growth rate will almost half, to 1.1%, in 2017, but around half of this is due to a smaller number of working days. While the economy will likely have to do without a number of special factors that provided a boost to domestic demand in 2016, we believe that the underlying robust domestic economic growth path remains intact. Weak global trade and political uncertainty will dampen exports and investments. The ECB has in all but words indicated that tapering will begin in 2017. European interest rates are likely to remain at very low levels in 2017, at least at the short end.
Topics: Auto industry; Brexit; Business cycle; Commercial real estate; Construction industry; Economic growth; European issues; European policy issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Migration; Monetary policy; Other sectors; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Real estate; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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28.11.2016
Crumbs or pie – how much will Frankfurt's property market benefit from BREXIT?
Abstract: The question regarding the consequences of a Brexit for the EU, the United Kingdom and Germany is expected to remain unanswered for some time. The political uncertainties and exit scenarios range from a contentious separation to a second referendum. At present, however, we can expect that Frankfurt will be one of places to benefit most from a Brexit. In light of the differences between the size of London and Frankfurt, London's crumbs could become Frankfurt's pie. The relocation of jobs to Frankfurt is also likely to boost property demand. The additional demand potential is welcome on the Frankfurt office market because it will equalise structurally induced reductions in the financial sector and will tend to lead to further reductions in vacancies and increase rents. The assumed 5,000 office workers are likely to relocate to the highly priced sub-markets close to the city centre. However, as new building projects also focus on these sub-markets, positive demand effects will be diluted. Because of existing demand overhangs, disadvantages are emerging on the Frankfurt residential property market from a potential relocation of employees. Price growth and the shortage of housing will remain elevated for the foreseeable future. An additional 5,000 homes and a correspondingly elevated housing shortage are likely to drive prices up by more than EUR 100 per m². While purchase prices remain affordable thanks to low interest rates, they are strongly dependent on future interest rate developments.
Topics: Banking; Brexit; Cities; Commercial real estate; European issues; Germany; Global financial markets; Housing policy; Real estate; Residential real estate; Tax policy
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07.11.2016
Stability anchor Germany– most likely with Merkel
Abstract: Political risks in the months to come might increasingly take their toll on economic developments and investor sentiment (see accompanying article, “Uncertainty & animal spirits”). Up until recently, few people would have included Germany in this risk category.
Topics: Brexit; European issues; European policy issues
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