Focus topic natural resources


Focus topic: Energy and climate changeWhile global demand for natural resources is growing steadily, supply is limited. This holds in equal measure for water, agricultural commodities, fossil fuels, metals and ores – and has far-reaching implications for the world’s climate. In the absence of hard-hitting measures to counter this trend, prices for these natural resources will continue to rise. One of the most important parameters to ensure future supply is to boost efficiency in the utilisation of these resources. The measures required to meet these challenges will trigger fundamental changes harbouring numerous risks and opportunities for market participants.


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India-Africa: a partnership with untapped potential
Abstract: Africa is drawing a variety of investors in search of natural resources and fast-growing consumer markets. They are eager to benefit from some of the highest economic growth rates in the world – as two-thirds of the countries in the continent will grow at over 5% over the next 5 years – and favourable demographics. Africa’s fast-growing, very young and increasingly urban population is currently estimated at 1.2 bn and set to exceed 4 bn by 2100, when around 40% of the global population will be living in Africa, based on projections from the UN. As the EU and China remain Africa’s main trade and investment partners and President Obama has given momentum to the US-Africa partnership, India’s involvement with Africa has been growing steadily. It is set to intensify further, based on the synergies of needs and interests.
Topics: Africa; Asia; Demographics; Economic growth; Economic trends; Education; Information technology; Labour market; Natural resources; Risk / Country Risk; Sectors / commodities; Social values / Consumer behaviour; Socio-econ. trends; Trade
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Carbon bubble: Real risk or exaggerated fears?
Abstract: What is the story with the carbon bubble? How great is the risk of conventional energy company valuations plummeting on account of ambitious climate protection policy? There may be many reasons for investors to channel less money into "fossil fuel companies" than before or to abandon them altogether and opt for other types of investment instead. However, one should not put too much stock in the reason being an ambitious, reliable and internationally comprehensive climate protection policy or a global decline in demand for fossil fuels. A carbon bubble is an unlikely development in such an environment, especially since the evolutionary nature of climate protection policy and technological changes in the energy sector offer the respective companies opportunities to adapt over time.
Topics: Economic policy; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Gas industry; Intern. relations; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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European Energy Union coming step by step: New institution due to current challenges
Abstract: In March 2015, the 28 European Heads of State and Government committed themselves to creating an Energy Union. In principle, the commitment to even stronger cooperation on energy and climate issues is a step forward, even though the decisive impetus came from grave concerns about potential gas supply disruptions as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The current discussion also indicates that the Energy Union should initially focus on the further improvement of natural gas supply in Eastern Europe. The further development of infrastructures and markets for grid-based energies are likely to become target areas as well. By contrast, contentious topics such as the nuclear phase-out in Germany and country-specific subsidy programmes for renewable energies are unlikely to be a target area yet. We thus expect an incremental policy of small steps, i.e. by no means a rapid and radical transformation of the European energy sector as a whole.
Topics: Energy policy; European issues; European policy issues; Gas industry; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities
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Dark clouds over lignite
Abstract: The German government is sticking to its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from the 1990 level by 2020. As it currently seems doubtful that the target will be achieved, Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel suggests introducing an additional climate contribution for older electricity power plants with particularly high CO2-emissions. Especially older lignite-based power plants would be affected by such a measure. And this at a time when many power plants are under pressure anyway due to changes in the investment strategies of a large Scandinavian investor.
Topics: Economic policy; Energy sector; Environmental protection; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities
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African revival shifts east
Abstract: There are good reasons to think that the revival in African growth over the last decade has been based on much more than the super cycle in commodities and demand from China. Over the next decade, however, the region’s centre of economic gravity is likely to shift towards the less resource-dependent economies in East Africa. East African countries are economically more diverse and beginning to form a relatively large and well-integrated regional market. Therefore, beyond the likely improvement in their terms of trade, they appear better-placed to deliver the structural economic transformation that will be needed to create jobs for the fast-growing working age population.
Topics: Africa; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic structure; Emerging markets; Energy sector; Food and beverages; Gas industry; Intern. relations; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Risk / Country Risk; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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German exports to oil-producing countries to decline in 2015
Abstract: While the German economy is generally getting a growth boost from the slump in oil prices, the oil-producing countries are seeing their economic prospects deteriorate. This could bring pressure to bear on German goods exports to these countries, which totalled no less than EUR 73 bn in 2014 (export share: 6.4%), and trigger a 10-15% nominal decrease in 2015. The sectors in Germany that have particularly benefited so far from the oil producers' "petrodollar recycling" include mechanical engineering and other transport equipment (mainly aircraft). In these cases, both the export ratios and the shares of the oil countries in total sector exports are above average.
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Chemicals industry; Economic growth; Economic structure; Electrical engineering; Energy sector; Exchange rates; Globalisation; Intern. relations; Key issues; Mechanical engineering; Middle East; Natural resources; Other sectors; Prices, inflation; Risk / Country Risk; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry; Trade
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Konzept Issue 02
Abstract: The world’s investors, regulators,governments have some challenges on their hands: deflation, the falling oil price, changing global capital flows, stresses in the Ukraine, shadow banking risk, reduced liquidity, low market volatility. Any one of them would merit serious research and attention, but all of them together add up to a constellation of topics that will have profound impact on the way economies and markets play out over 2015. We hope this issue of Konzept will provide some clarity, some insight, and, occasionally, something to smile about.
Topics: Banking; Capital markets; Contagion; Eastern Europe; Economic growth; Energy sector; Exchange rates; Financial market trends; Gas industry; Globalisation; Innovation; Intangible assets; Intern. economic system; International financial markets; International financial system; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Natural resources; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Risk / Country Risk; Sectors / commodities; Social values / Consumer behaviour; Supervision and regulation; Sustainability; Technology and innovation; Trade; WTO
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CO2 emissions from cars: Regulation via EU Emissions Trading System better than stricter CO2 limits
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Auto industry; Economic policy; Energy policy; Environmental policy; European policy issues; Innovation; Key issues; Mechanical engineering; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Tax policy; Technology and innovation; Transport; Transport policy
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US and China reach climate protection agreement: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Abstract: At the APEC Summit the US and China reached an accord on long-term targets to combat climate change. The US plans to cut its CO2 emissions by 2025 by 26-28% compared with 2005 levels. In China CO2 emissions are to peak by 2030 at the latest. Although many reservations will probably be expressed that this is too little to contain the negative consequences of climate change to a manageable degree, given the realities in international climate policy such a compromise is the bird in the hand that may be preferable to the two in the bush.
Topics: Economic policy; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Intern. relations; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities
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EU climate targets: High degree of flexibility highlights conflicts within the EU
Abstract: The climate targets recently adopted by the EU show a high degree of flexibility. This reflects the conflicting interests and the heterogeneity of the EU member states, for example in terms of energy generation or degree of industrialisation. However, the pronounced flexibility is not necessarily bad news. The fact that the EU intends to rely also in future on revitalised EU emissions trading as its main climate protection instrument is to be welcomed. Compared with other countries – such as the United States or China – the EU committed itself early on with an ambitious CO2 reduction target of at least 40%.
Topics: Economic policy; Economic structure; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; European issues; European policy issues; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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