Talking point
Blockchain – attack is probably the best form of defence
Debate over blockchain technology is raging in many online and offline media at present. In principle, the technology constitutes a decentralised ledger system that can be coordinated via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Any ownership or security issues arising in connection with the decentralised transactions conducted across the ledger system are handled by P2P mechanisms as well, i.e. also without a central node. Ownership status is established via the digital exchange of cryptographic keys (public vs private), while fraudulent transactions can largely be ruled out with the help of the cryptographic "proof of work" system. Using a proof of work, blockchain technology enables the rapid, inexpensive transfer of assets and financial products between individuals who neither know nor trust one another, without a compelling need for an intermediary to reduce existing information asymmetries. [more]
Germany
Focus Germany: Inflation moving higher, despite subdued core inflation
While the core inflation rate has remained relatively stable since 2011 at an average of slightly above 1% yoy the oil price slump is the main reason for the temporary decline in consumer prices at the start of 2015. However, the oil price rise of some 30% since January and the stabilisation of the EUR exchange rate sent the German inflation rate out of negative territory after just one month and then made it accelerate to 0.7% yoy recently. We therefore expect slightly stronger increases in consumer prices of 0.5% this year and 2.0% in 2016. With our forecast the risks are more pronounced to the downside. The oil price might rise more slowly than expected on account of the global oversupply. In addition, the EUR/USD has now stabilised at above 1.10 after hitting its low in mid-April. Our forecast assumes EUR/USD parity by year-end. [more]
Hot off the press
CEE corporate bonds: Untapped potential but challenges remain
Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) increased sharply in the decade up to 2013, prior to a significant decline in 2014 and Q1 2015 against the backdrop of the Russia crisis. In terms of size the market is small in an international comparison, and concentration in certain countries and sectors is large. Macro stability and adequate legal rights are important factors for market development, and a large and diversified source of demand is a key ingredient. Pension system counter-reforms in CEE may be counterproductive in this respect.  [more]
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