Talking Point
False start for electric cars – dilemma facing the automotive industry and the state
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 CO2limits 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. [more]
Germany
Focus Germany: New SPD frontrunner unlikely to defeat Merkel
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.  [more]
Germany Monitor
Uncertainty is slowing capital expenditure
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.  [more]
Germany
Monitor Corporate funding in Germany
The upward trend in lending to German corporates and self-employed continued in Q3 (+0.5% qoq / +2.1% yoy). Loans to several important manufacturing industries declined, but grew strongly with real estate-linked industries. Savings banks and cooperative banks expanded further, whereas business weakened at Landesbanks and credit banks. Bond and equity issuance was solid. Spectacular: the average rate for corporate deposits fell into negative territory for the first time in history. The German economy faced muted growth dynamics in Q3 (GDP +0.2% qoq), yet may pick up speed again in the current quarter. Growth was driven by private and public consumption, while net exports shrank. Likewise, investment contracted. The expected slowdown in growth next year (to 1.1%) is to a large extent due to the lower number of working days. (available only in German) [more]
 
 
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