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Germany

Germany has recovered well from the global financial and euro crisis. To make sure that the future challenges are successfully addressed, a balance between sustainable growth and social participation are essential. To achieve these objectives further reforms are needed as well as an improvement of the macroeconomic framework. Policymakers, businesspeople and the public must face up to their responsibilities. DB Research analyses the economic and political conflicting ideas and incorporates possible solutions into economic and political outlooks. These are based on national sector research, global business cycle and financial forecasts as well as the assessment of international political developments.

212 (71-80)
September 2, 2016
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Against the backdrop of strong Q2 growth and the revision of historic data, we increase our GDP forecast for 2016 to 1.9% (from 1.7%). For 2017 we lower our growth forecast to 1.0% (from 1.3%). Muted wage growth will likely weigh on consumption growth and subdued exports as well as high global uncertainty might negatively impact equipment investments. Further topics in this issue: Fiscal balance, Current account surplus, Retail investors, German industry and View from Berlin. [more]
71
August 26, 2016
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EMU’s current account (CA) surplus has lent some support to the euro over the past two years at a time of relentless fixed income outflows. Germany is pivotal, as it accounts for 60% of the surplus. Since the rotation of fixed income assets out of Europe is likely to continue (‘Euroglut’) the balance of payments should therefore become even more bearish for the euro. The German surplus is likely to weaken by about 20% to 7% of GDP by the end of the decade due to unfavourable demographic trends, the housing boom and slowing globalisation. [more]
72
August 24, 2016
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Analyst:
The manufacturing sector is one of Germany's biggest employers. On average, more than 5.2 million people were working in manufacturing in the first half of 2016. This represents an increase of 6.3% compared with the beginning of 2005 – and comes in spite of the deep recession of 2008/2009. In the period under review, job growth was particularly strong in mechanical engineering, the food industry, the rubber and plastics industry, and the metals industry. Expansion of employment in German industry has slowed recently, however. Because of the low rate of global growth and muted investment activity, employment in the industrial sector is likely to stagnate up to 2017 – albeit at a high level. [more]
73
August 23, 2016
Region:
Many of the things that had us gasping in amazement when we watched science fiction films just a few decades ago have now become a mass-market reality. Today, Hollywood shows us what we can expect if we continue to develop digital technologies at the current pace. Of course, artificial intelligence and its use in all areas of our lives are undoubtedly still a long way off. However, substantial progress is being made especially when it comes to pattern recognition, modern data analysis and the use of self-learning algorithms. Without this technological progress, we would no longer be able to cope with the exponential growth in data volumes and data potential of which we can still only begin to conceive. We need the machines. [more]
74
July 27, 2016
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There is a high level of excess demand in the housing market and it has grown in recent years. Demand for credit is also growing at a correspondingly rapid pace. The supply of credit could be boosted by further monetary stimulus. In the medium term, more buoyant lending is likely to increase interest rate risk. However, if lending growth remains low, there will be increased risk of overvaluations and a house price bubble. This is particularly true when little new housing is financed and lending is largely for existing property. Given the high level of excess demand in the housing market and the fact that office buildings are being converted to residential buildings, office space is also likely to be in short supply in the coming years. As a result, rents in the office market can be expected to rise more strongly, and could – for a time – outstrip the rise in rents in the housing market. Since Chancellor Merkel assumed office in 2005 her term has been dominated by crisis management, which often required leadership and moderation of differing interests in Europe. Managing the UK’s departure from the EU will have top priority for the time being. Nonetheless, Merkel is likely to focus her attention on domestic topics as much as on European ones in the upcoming months given the looming federal elections in autumn 2017. Also in this issue: Fewer insolvencies in German industry. [more]
75
July 21, 2016
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Analyst:
The 2008/2009 economic and financial crisis caused the number of insolvency proceedings instituted to increase by 48% in 2009 alone. However, the number of insolvencies has been following a downward trend since then. As a result, fewer proceedings were instituted in 2015 than in 2008 across nearly all sectors of industry. The prospects for this trend continuing in 2016 are good. Over the past few years, the number of insolvencies in any given industry has been significantly influenced by the prevailing economic conditions in that industry and – related to this – the value of the euro against the currencies of major trading partners. [more]
76
July 6, 2016
Region:
Breathtaking. No other word really does justice to the profound changes unleashed by digitalisation and the accelerating pace at which new technologies are appearing. Of course, many of these technologies are still in their infancy and in some cases still have a rather visionary character, but they nevertheless hold unforeseen and lucrative potential. The race for digital technologies and successful monetisation strategies has been on for some time, especially among the large, well-known internet platforms. However, start-ups are increasingly throwing their hat into the ring and causing quite a stir among the business models of established companies. As a result, many innovation-stimulating digital technologies are gradually finding their way into traditional companies where they are evolving into a comparative competitive advantage (not only) for Germany as a business location. [more]
77
July 4, 2016
Region:
The political and economic implications as well as the order of events of the Brexit are currently very hard to predict. We assume that Europe – as usual in recent years – will “muddle-through”. The ECB will not panic, but wait to assess the consequences of the UK’s choice to exit the EU. Due to Brexit we lower our 2017 German GDP forecast to 1.3% from 1.6%. About half of that is due to lower export growth. The other half of the revision results from lower investment in machinery & equipment by German corporates. All told, domestic demand should only feel a marginal impact given that the fundamental drivers – healthy labour market and construction sector – remain intact. Further topics in this issue: German consumers, labour market and Germany in the aftermath of the EU referendum in the UK. [more]
78
June 3, 2016
Region:
We revise down our Q2 GDP growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.1% as we expect material payback for Q1 strength. While we remain optimistic with regards to the labour market, we think that the impetus from low oil prices to real incomes is fading. In addition, the mild winter has allowed construction work to be brought forward, albeit the payback might be limited by the strength of underlying construction demand. Given weak export sentiment, falling investment goods orders and lower capacity utilisation, we think investment in machinery & equipment is going to weigh on Q2 growth. We maintain our 2016 GDP forecast (1.7%), though. Despite spending on refugees, the German national budget generated a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2015, the largest since 2000. However, the healthy short and medium-term fiscal outlook only marginally reduces the need for the reform of public finances. [more]
79
June 2, 2016
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Topic:
Analyst:
Many of the environmental-performance targets of the German ‘Energiewende’ are in fact falling behind the time scale that is actually required – some of them are significantly behind schedule. Progress is largely achieved where major subsidies are provided via some form of support programme. Where there is no such support, or subsidies and incentives are small, or too small, targets are starting to be missed. One criticism is that no quantifiable targets have been drawn up in the areas of economics/efficiency and security of supply. If the current status of the ‘Energiewende’ had to be described in one sentence, it might be that Germany has probably taken on too much in too short a time. We believe there are four main limiting factors: cost, physical limits, the available time budget and political feasibility. [more]
80
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