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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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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13.03.2017
German election campaign: Close contest dominated by myopic debates
Abstract: The campaign for the German federal election on September 24 has speeded up. Since Mr. Schulz’ nomination the SPD seems to experience a new heyday. The party was able to nearly completely reduce the then huge backlog in the popularity ratings, i.e. from about 15pps to about 2pps at present.
Topics: Germany
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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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22.02.2017
ECB unimpressed by the rise in inflation – for now
Abstract: The headline inflation rates, which have increased substantially in recent months, have rekindled the debate surrounding the ECB's bond-buying programme. German producer prices have also risen sharply in recent times. In December 2016, the prices of metal (up by 5% on December 2015) and energy (up by 10%) increased particularly sharply. Nevertheless, the remaining inputs (weighting: 83.6%) continued to show no inflationary pressure at all.
Topics: European issues; Germany; Macroeconomics
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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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