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Ultra-low interest rates: How Japanese banks have coped

June 10, 2013
This study reviews how Japanese banks have responded to the adverse macroeconomic environment during the past ten to twenty years. The experience of Japanese banks provides some valuable insights into the effect of a prolonged phase of low interest rates on bank balance sheets and profitability. Banks have adapted both the cost and income drivers of their business. Profitability and efficiency gains have been limited though. While Japanese banks have reduced their bad loan problem, they have also become increasingly exposed to their home sovereign. [more]

More documents contained in "Germany Monitor"

101 (49-60)
December 19, 2014
The financial crisis has led to substantial reforms of the system of financial regulation and supervision in Europe – not limited to but including deposit guarantee schemes (DGSs), which play a key role in consumer protection and financial stability. The most recent DGS reform follows a gradual approach, i.e. focuses on adapting existing national systems rather than replacing them. Nevertheless, new rules for bank resolution and the emerging Banking Union are considerably changing the environment DGSs operate in. Given the complexity of the new setup, cooperation between the different players in the financial safety net – including DGSs – is indispensable. [more]
December 15, 2014
The integration of road transport into the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) using an upstream approach (with refineries and fuel importers as participants) is superior to the instrument of CO2 limit values for cars on the counts of ecological effectiveness and macroeconomic efficiency. This applies in particular if a cap on CO2 emissions enjoys top political priority. Higher taxes on fuel would also be more appropriate than a further tightening of limit values after 2020/21. Nonetheless, if policymakers should decide that (stricter) CO2 limit values for cars are to remain the instrument of choice after 2021, it would be appropriate to gear them to the (lower) targets in other large auto markets. [more]
November 13, 2014
German engineering firms must prepare to confront several trends over the medium term. The first of these is that a new, bipolar world of engineering markets is emerging. The United States and (once again) China are set to become especially promising centres of growth going forward. Further future trends are, secondly, the gradual shift in product focus towards customised system solutions; thirdly, the growing importance of not purely price-related competitive factors; and fourthly, the reconfiguration of the global division of labour in the engineering sector as the classic distinction between producer countries focusing on standard machinery and others focusing on speciality equipment becomes increasingly untenable. Provided that traditional suppliers to the manufacturing sector manage to spot the new mega-trends in good time, they will be able to build on these to develop promising strategies that enable them to adapt, survive and – ultimately – grow. [more]
November 11, 2014
In sections of the financial industry there are many web- and data-based financial products and services that customers cannot obtain from either their bank or a similar provider. Non-bank, primarily technology-driven providers are increasingly entering the markets for less knowledge-intensive and easily standardisable financial services. Despite valuable comparative advantages that traditional banks have to offer they need to undergo a radical course of innovation therapy during the digital transformation process. To this end modern data analysis methods should be used just as routinely as a seamlessly integrated web of all distribution channels. Modern technologies and appropriate finance-specific internet services need to be implemented efficiently and above all in a timely manner. Strengthening one's own brand and identity as well as the obligation to handle client data confidentially will also help to deliver a sustained increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. [more]
October 30, 2014
Following weak performance in winter half-year 2014/15 industrial production in Germany is likely to return to a moderate uptrend in the course of 2015, resulting in expansion of roughly 1.5% in real terms in 2014 and about ¾% in 2015. This means the generally muted dynamics of industrial performance in evidence since 2011 would continue in 2015. Industry's share in total German gross value added (2013: 21.8%) will probably decline again, as in 2012 and 2013. The only moderate growth of industry is primarily attributable to the currently subdued level of business activity and external shocks. Nonetheless, structural factors are going to regain importance. The ball is now in the politicians' court. Many of their recently adopted measures give rise to fears that Germany's international competitiveness as an industrial location is likely to decline. [more]
October 29, 2014
Why are German wages/inflation not responding? Much of the answer lies in cultural factors and personal traits which manifest themselves in a high aversion to inflation. This in turn has led to Germany’s unique economic fundamentals and institutions. At the core it seems that Germans and German society can handle distribution conflicts involving time inconsistency problems better, on average, than many other nations. Given the German peculiarities the ECB has more time to run its supportive policy without creating new imbalances in the largest EMU economy. Therefore the ECB has scope to extend its balance sheet via private and most likely public QE. [more]
August 27, 2014
Besides transport and energy infrastructure, communications infrastructure is steadily gaining in importance in the regional competition to attract investment. One source of concern in particular though is the significant gulf in investment both between west German and east German federal states as well as between urban and rural regions. This is compounded by the problem that there is usually no viable business model for projects in rural areas without government subsidies. As there is no such thing as a standard blueprint for the broadband rollout with its huge investment requirements, every single project with its specific local features needs to undergo a critical economic feasibility analysis. On this basis, efforts should be taken to work out the best rollout model in terms of technology, funding and time horizon, respectively. In essence, the broadband rollout in Germany requires more government stimuli to foster private investment, but these efforts need to be coordinated and based on sound judgement. [more]
July 31, 2014
The recently announced plans for a free trade agreement between China and the EU are momentous. China is the EU’s No. 1 supplier of goods and its third-largest export market. In turn, the EU is China’s largest trading partner. Going by current trends, EU-China annual bilateral trade could grow close to 1.5 times in a decade’s time. Not only goods but also services trade has large potential to grow. Chinese investment into the EU is still in its infancy but is likely to increase and become more broad-based, covering a wider range of industries and countries across Europe. New dynamism is expected from a bilateral investment agreement currently in negotiation and rising interest of Chinese investors in European companies, as shown by our compilation of Chinese M&A deals vis-à-vis the EU and Germany. Plenty of headroom exists for greater use of RMB in bilateral trade and investment relations. A note of caution concerns the risk of trade disputes which is unlikely to be removed in the near term. [more]
June 26, 2014
Due to numerous political incentives, especially relating to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the renewables share has increased sixfold since 1997 with regard to both primary energy consumption and electricity generation. Germany's first energy policy rethink (or Energiewende 1.0) not only sent costs ballooning but also impacted on electricity prices, the generation mix and emissions trading. And despite the EEG the contribution of wind/solar to primary energy consumption (PEC) was a mere 2%-plus in 2013. Overall, the “green electricity share” could reach roughly 60% by 2035. But how will the remaining 40% be generated – in view of the Energiewende 2.0? Depending on the scenario, the onus is more on natural gas or coal. [more]
May 26, 2014
The differences between the German automotive industry and the automotive industry in Germany will continue to expand in the coming years – the construction of production capacities in the growth markets is progressing. Expansion abroad does not have to be to the detriment of Germany as an automaking location. However, a stable or even positive development of Germany as an automotive manufacturing location cannot be taken for granted. We outline three potential scenarios for the development of Germany as an automaking location until 2025. In our most likely scenario domestic car output remains at around its current level until then. At the same time Germany benefits from a gradual recovery in western European car demand. In addition, smaller export markets become more important. [more]
May 23, 2014
From the standpoint of potential company founders, an inadequate supply of funding is a key issue especially in a start-up's early phases. Therefore, we welcome the efforts of the crowdfunding movement from an economic perspective, particularly with regard to growth. However, there is an urgent need for action aimed at eliminating the existing information asymmetries and conflicts of interest between company founders, funding platforms and investors. [more]
May 5, 2014
Big data is increasingly becoming a factor in production, market competitiveness and, therefore, growth. Cutting-edge analysis technologies are making inroads into all areas of people’s lives and changing their day-to-day existence. Sensors, biometric identification and the general trends towards a convergence of information and communications technologies are driving the big data movement. Data has a commercial value – therefore the risks should not be underestimated. It is now a question of putting in place the necessary regulatory framework to allow these state-of-the-art methods and the technology that underpins them to properly flourish. [more]