Focus topic Germany

Focus topic: GermanyGermany has recovered well from the global financial and economic crisis. Achieving sustainable growth, however, will require further improvements to the macroeconomic framework. This is a job for policymakers, businesspeople and the public alike. DB Research’s contribution will be to analyse the broad spectrum of issues, discussing possible solutions as well as the economic and political outlook. These range from assessments of economic-policy decisions and analyses of cyclical activity and sector trends right through to the effects of international developments on Germany as a business location.

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29.08.2016
Germany's massive current account surplus set to decline
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Demographics; Economic growth; Germany; Housing policy; Intern. relations; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Migration; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Residential real estate; Social policy; Trade
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24.08.2016
German industry: growth in employment likely to end
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Chemicals industry; Economic growth; Electrical engineering; Food and beverages; Germany; Key issues; Labour market; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Mechanical engineering; Other sectors; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry
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27.07.2016
Focus Germany: ECB helps industry and boosts property prices
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Business cycle; Commercial real estate; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Real estate; Residential real estate
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21.07.2016
Fewer insolvencies in German industry
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Auto industry; Chemicals industry; Electrical engineering; Food and beverages; Germany; Mechanical engineering; Textiles and clothing industry
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06.07.2016
Start-ups inspire markets with digital technologies (Fintech #7)
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Banking; Economic structure; Financial market trends; Germany; Information technology; Innovation; Intangible assets; International capital markets; International financial system; Internet; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Sectors / commodities; Social values / Consumer behaviour; Socio-econ. trends; Technology and innovation; Telecommunication; Trade
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04.07.2016
Focus Germany: German consumer vs Brexit
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Key issues; Labour market; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Social values / Consumer behaviour
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03.06.2016
Focus Germany: Growth and fiscal outlook: Risks remain
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Business cycle; Construction industry; Economic growth; EMU; European issues; Exchange rates; Fiscal policy; Germany; Key issues; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Migration; Monetary policy; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Trade
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27.05.2016
German manufacturing output: a good first quarter, but no stable uptrend
Abstract: Following a strong increase in manufacturing output in Q1 2016, we have raised our forecast for the entire year 2016 to 1% (previously, a marginal increase). Hardly anything has changed in our forecast of generally moderate performance in the manufacturing sector for 2016 as a whole. However, the strong start to the year requires upward adjustments to our forecasts, also at sector level. These are particularly noticeable in the automotive and plastics industries as well as among producers of building materials.
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Chemicals industry; Economic growth; Electrical engineering; Germany; Key issues; Mechanical engineering; Other sectors; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry
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12.05.2016
Focus Germany: How to pay for retirement?
Abstract: CSU leader Seehofer and SPD leader Gabriel have advocated a stabilization of the level of the public pension scheme’s benefits. This would mean to skip one of the past decade’s major social policy reforms that aimed at enhancing the public budgets' fiscal sustainability. Mr. Seehofer has even questioned the complete architecture of Germany’s pension system by also stating that the Riester-Pension had failed. Obviously both party leaders are in search for popular topics for the imminent federal election campaign, given that in 2017 more than one third of the eligible voters will be 60 years old or older. But it is doubtful whether the promotion of pensioners‘ interests will help both leaders to improve their parties’ image. Further topics in this issue: High returns on direct investments in Germany, Global trade growth remains subdued.
Topics: Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Intern. relations; Key issues; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Real econ. trends; Trade
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04.04.2016
Focus Germany: Solid growth but difficulties for exports and construction
Abstract: According to our and consensus expectations Germany will record 4 years (2014-2017) of above potential GDP growth in an extremely narrow range of 1.5% to 1.7%, despite substantial shocks and massive swings in growth drivers. If growth breaks out, a downside move seems more likely than higher growth. The economic slowdown in the oil-producing countries due to the falling oil price also carries implications for the German economy in terms of its foreign trade. Although the overall effect is positive for the German economy, German exports to oil-producing countries remain under pressure. Capital spending on residential construction has been growing sluggishly in recent years. The main reasons are: a shortage of building land, increased regulatory hurdles in virtually all construction sectors, high construction costs and a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry.
Topics: Business cycle; Construction industry; Economic growth; Economic policy; Germany; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real estate; Residential real estate; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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