Focus topic Germany

Focus topic: GermanyGermany has recovered well from the global financial and economic crisis. Achieving sustainable growth, however, will require further improvements to the macroeconomic framework. This is a job for policymakers, businesspeople and the public alike. DB Research’s contribution will be to analyse the broad spectrum of issues, discussing possible solutions as well as the economic and political outlook. These range from assessments of economic-policy decisions and analyses of cyclical activity and sector trends right through to the effects of international developments on Germany as a business location.

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14.02.2017
False start for electric cars – dilemma facing the automotive industry and the state
Abstract:  In 2016, electric cars and hybrids represented only 1.8% of all new passenger car registrations in Germany. It therefore remains a niche market – despite the introduction of subsidies last year. The average car buyer steers clear of electric vehicles because of high purchase costs, uncertainty about resale value and battery life, limited range, a lack of charging stations and lengthy charging times. This reluctance to buy presents the automotive industry and the state with a dilemma: strict CO2 limits for new vehicles mean that the industry has to invest heavily in electric-car technology, but it cannot expect an equivalent payback in terms of revenue in the foreseeable future. For the state, it can come down to a straight choice between granting expensive subsidies or failing to reach climate change targets.
Topics: Auto industry; Economic policy; Energy policy; Environmental policy; Germany; Innovation; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Technology and innovation; Transport; Transport policy
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30.01.2017
Focus Germany: New SPD frontrunner unlikely to defeat Merkel
Abstract: 2016 GDP growth picked up further relative to the previous two years (1.9% vs. 1.7%). Growth was strongly tilted towards consumption thanks to several tailwinds (refugee crisis, low inflation, labour market strength), while slowing exports weighed on private equipment investment: With several tailwinds fading and a strong workday effect weighing, GDP growth looks set to slow to 1.1% in 2017. Recent sentiment indicators herald some upside risks for the current quarter. However, the 2.3 point drop in the expectations component of the January ifo index seems to corroborate our more cautious stance. In an unexpected turn, SPD party leader Gabriel announced that he would not run against Angela Merkel. Instead Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, will be the party’s frontrunner. Mr. Schulz’s unexpected nomination is likely to push the SPD’s campaign for the federal election on September 24 but unlikely to derail Merkel.
Topics: Business cycle; European issues; European policy issues; Germany; Globalisation; Intern. relations; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation
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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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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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15.12.2016
Beacon of stability: The foundations of Germany’s success
Abstract: Germany remains an anchor of steadiness with an undisputed role as leader in Europe and is the only country that comes close to being on a par with America. This story of success is based on many structural factors, some of which complement and mutually reinforce each other. We group them as follows: (1) Macropolicies focused on stability and growth (2) Institutions grounded in German ‘ordoliberalism’ (3) Global companies with unique structures (4) An equitable system of social security and cooperative social partners (5) A long-term perspective by companies and citizens with the willingness to forgo immediate reward – in our view the most important factor in the success. The combination of innovative, multinational companies, functioning institutions and highly skilled workers will, in our view, maintain Germany’s competitiveness and prosperity into the future. German politicians are therefore confronted with the increasing challenge of holding the eurozone together. However, if anti-euro movements gain the upper hand in key partner countries, thereby increasing the disruptive risks, there may be a reassessment in Germany of the euro’s costs and benefits.
Topics: Economic growth; Economic policy; Education; Germany; Globalisation; Innovation; Intangible assets; Intern. economic system; Intern. relations; Macroeconomics; Sectors / commodities; Social policy; Socio-econ. trends; Sustainability; Technology and innovation; 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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08.11.2016
Logistics: weak environment – no trend reversal in sight
Abstract: Over the next three to five years, global trade is likely to grow only at or around the same pace as global GDP. This structurally weaker momentum will be reflected in slow growth in the global and regional flow of goods, as has already been the case in recent years. In its role as an open, export-oriented economy, Germany – and the German logistics sector in particular – will continue to feel the sting of this development. At a nominal average of 2% a year, turnover growth in the sector is likely to be below the long-term average in the years ahead.
Topics: Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Globalisation; Information technology; Intern. relations; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities; Services; SMEs; Trade; Transport; Transport policy
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08.11.2016
Germany needs to do some straight talking with China
Abstract: It was obvious that the Chinese government was not amused when, in light of the ever-expanding list of German technology companies being bought up by Chinese investors, the German Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel spoke of the lack of reciprocation in Chinese investment conditions for German companies. According to press reports, in the first half of this year alone, Chinese companies invested at least EUR 8 billion in German companies.
Topics: Asia; Germany
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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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