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German GDP: Down (Q1) but not out (in 2021) – Inflation reaching 2%

February 17, 2021
Region:
German GDP: Down (Q1) but not out (in 2021). The longer “hard” lockdown, weather-related losses in construction and impairments in car output due to chip supply problems have prompted us to cut our Q1 GDP forecast to -2% qoq. We continue to expect a strong rebound in the summer half propelled by healthy global demand, supportive fiscal and monetary policy and German households’ pent-up demand. Inflation: Now expecting 2% for 2021! The Jan print of 1% yoy surprised massively to the upside, in part due to one-offs. But the strong rise in core goods prices begs the question whether the Jan readings could herald stronger underlying inflation dynamics. There are still strong arguments for a continuation of structurally low inflation dynamics. However, we see risk that price dynamics could strengthen more strongly through impaired supply conditions. Overall, we now project the inflation rate to average 2.0% in 2021. Towards the end of 2021 the headline rate could spike to as much as 3% before easing to 1 ½% in Q1 2022. [more]

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100 Documents
March 31, 2021
Region:
1
Merkel’s Conservatives currently face major problems. Approval rates are in free fall as trust in the government’s crisis management has eroded. The CDU/CSU is polling at pre-crisis levels of below 30% fuelling speculation that not only Merkel but the Conservatives in total might not be part of the next government. The announcement of their chancellor candidate is unlikely to turn the tide for the Conservatives. A bold election manifesto on how to bring Germany forward after the deficiencies revealed by the crisis combined with convincing core personal are needed. Coalition options are back in focus with the Greens being the kingmakers in all scenarios. The political talk of the day is a Green-led traffic light coalition also at the federal level. Still, a conservative-green government remains our baseline scenario, but it is not a foregone conclusion anymore. [more]
March 10, 2021
Region:
2
On March 14, regional elections in Baden-Württemberg (BW) and Rhineland-Palatinate (RP) will provide the first electoral test for the parties in the run-up to the federal elections. Polls see the ruling Greens in BW, respectively the SPD in RP in the lead, but uncertainty about the polls is higher this time given the fallout from the pandemic. Additional headwinds for the CDU result from a current political outrage over questionable procurement deals of two CDU/CSU Bundestag MPs. The new CDU party leader Laschet is not up for election but the performance of the CDU will of course be (partly) attributed to him. However, as long as the CDU is not experiencing a severe setback compared to its 2016 results, Laschet’s chances of being nominated as the CDU/CSU chancellor candidate remains intact in our view. [more]
March 1, 2021
Region:
3
The COVID-19-related restrictions on German public life in the winter half of 2020/21 have again noticeably limited the consumption possibilities of private households. Large parts of brick and mortar retail trade as well as service businesses relying on personal interaction had to close, tourism and most of the hospitality industry lie fallow. The unwinding of this pent-up demand will be key to a post-lockdown recovery. But how much momentum can be expected from a meltdown of additional savings induced by the COVID-19 restrictions? To quantify an answer to this question, we present two scenarios. A conservative scenario assumes that about 30% of additional savings will flow back into private consumption in 2021, while almost 70% would remain in household deposits or assets. In an upside scenario with 40% of the additional savings flowing back into spending in 2021 already, our private consumption forecast would be lifted by a good 1pp providing a ½ pp upside for German GDP in 2021. [more]
December 10, 2020
Region:
4
The COVID cycle and vaccination progress will drive the economy in 2021. We expect that infection rates will not come down decisively before Q2. By summer vaccination numbers should reach critical mass. A strong recovery starting in Q2 should yield an annual GDP increase of 4.5% after a 5.5% drop in 2020.
All attention on the super election year 2021: Germany is facing federal elections and multiple state elections. Our baseline scenario is a conservative-green government, but coalition talks will significantly test the willingness to compromise on both sides.
(Also in this issue: global trade and exports, private consumption, labour market, equipment and other investment, the German housing market, public finances, inflation, German industry's corona losses) [more]
December 3, 2020
Region:
5
Mankind has survived all kinds of pandemics, even the plague. However, humans are ill-equipped when confronted with an invisible danger. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has four important features which almost certainly overstretch the human analytical capacity: Time-lags, external effects, nonlinearities and complexity. We cannot escape our biases when deliberating COVID-19 . But being aware of them might yield more cautious and less apodictic views. Our evolutionary success can be traced to the fact that we became “social animals” with these biases often enhancing a smooth cooperation. Now it is on the society and its institutions to make sure that they do not cause people turning against society. [more]
November 27, 2020
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6
Early this year, the government had to put together massive bailout and aid packages in next to no time in order to avert an imminent economic collapse. However, cash outflow from immediate assistance and interim aid schemes have so far fallen considerably short of the expectations. As a result, the funds budgeted for this purpose have not been nearly utilised to their full extent. In light of November’s partial lockdown, the government has now decided to increase the dose of its financial aid to solo self-employed, freelancers as well as small and medium-sized companies. Consequently, the mere ripple of support often bemoaned in this area could ultimately gather enough strength yet to become a mighty wave. The provision of aid over the further course of the crisis is to be strictly guided by necessity, effectiveness and appropriateness as fiscal resources are limited and the state cannot provide unlimited comprehensive cover. [more]
November 2, 2020
Region:
7
Q3 GDP surprise: A rear mirror view – but obstacles right in front. With the partial lockdown during November, the economy will almost certainly see another negative quarter, even in an optimistic scenario where restrictions succeed in squashing new infections and will be completely abolished by the end of November. Prepare the German healthcare sector for regional bottlenecks – protect risk groups better: The number of patients in intensive care and hospital capacity is just as important as the number of new infections. We estimate that 400,000 acutely infected patients are the limit for intensive care units. (Also in this issue: inflation outlook, German labour market, corporate insolvencies, German auto industry, global construction industry, German corona policy, open borders in the EU) [more]
September 24, 2020
Region:
8
We have lifted our GDP forecast for 2020 to -5.5% and see the economy expanding by 4.5% in 2021. An important factor is that the rebound during Q2 – when GDP contracted by 9.7% – turned out more dynamic than expected. The momentum carried over into July. Even with some likely short-term moderation in August, we now expect Q3 GDP to increase by 6.0% qoq. Together with a 2.5% expansion in Q4, this should result in an annual GDP drop of “only” 5.5%, compared to the 9% expected in early May at the height of the pandemic in Europe. The higher carry-over lifts our 2021 GDP growth forecast to 4.5%, despite somewhat weaker momentum in H1 than expected earlier. (Also in this issue: labour market, bilateral exports, fiscal outlook 2020-22, German industry, the race for CDU leadership, and federal election prospects.) [more]
September 23, 2020
Region:
9
The two August mass demonstrations against the corona measures in Berlin attracted wide media attention and rattled the public. Many felt confirmed in their feeling that the corona crisis is driving society further apart. Current surveys, however, show that 80% of Germans firmly support the government and trust in government is at a record high. Rather, the protests go beyond the corona crisis, which might be a door opener for general system criticism. The causes for criticism and uncertainty are more likely ongoing long-term trends such as the loss of western supremacy, demographic change, climate change or digitalisation. [more]
August 10, 2020
Region:
10
Monthly data point to a strong pickup in economic momentum during the course of Q2, in part due to catch-up effects. Still, after the unprecedented 10.1% GDP contraction in Q2 we expect a 5% increase in Q3 followed by a 2% rise in Q4 (consensus: 5.2% and 2.4%). We now expect German GDP to contract by 6.4% (compared with -9% predicted in early May) followed by a 4% increase in 2021. Still, the pre-COVID output level will not be reached before mid-2022. The current exceptional volatility in monthly data and the further development of the global pandemic imply that the error margins remain exceptionally high. (Also in this issue: Merkel’s strength might become a burden for her potential successors.) [more]
July 9, 2020
Region:
11
With Germany’s rather successful COVID-19 strategy and the recovery and stimulus packages broadly agreed, the question of Merkel’s successor and the next German federal elections in autumn 2021 are gradually getting closer political attention again. Parties are currently not only preparing for the election, but are also arguing about the electoral law: the present law allowed the Bundestag to grow from 598 mandates to the current record size of 709 mandates, with the 2021 election likely to result in an even bigger number of seats. The Bundestag just failed to pass a reform before the summer break and thus in time for the 2021 elections. However, political and public pressure to find a solution is high and will keep the issue on the political agenda. [more]
June 26, 2020
Region:
12
How deep is your trough? Daily activity trackers suggest that the economy turned at the end of April as lockdown measures were gradually lifted. But we still expect a double-digit decline in Q2 GDP. The EUR 130 bn fiscal package was somewhat above our earlier expectations but does not change our GDP forecast, especially as still-prevailing pandemic uncertainties might curtail the economic impact of the package. But upside risks to our -9% GDP forecast for 2020 have (somewhat) increased. (Also in this issue: corona pandemic update, German public finances, global trade, German tourism during the corona crisis, German politics goes European) [more]
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