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568 (11-20)
February 28, 2019
In 2018, net income at the major European banks climbed to its highest level since the financial crisis. Lower administrative expenses and a further fall in loan loss provisions to multi-year lows more than made up for a decline in revenues. Whereas net interest income stabilised, fee and commission income as well as trading income declined. Banks took a bit more risk, and risk-weighted assets edged up. Total capital remained flat despite higher profits as banks increased returns to shareholders and implemented the new IFRS 9 accounting standard. Consequently, capital ratios declined for the first time since 2008. The gap between European banks and their US peers remained huge as the latter benefited from higher interest rates and lower corporate taxes. [more]
February 28, 2019
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The outcome of the EU elections and the composition of the new Parliament will significantly influence the nomination and election of the next President of the European Commission (EC). Parliament will vote for the Council's proposed candidate in a secret ballot with a majority of component MEPs required. The election of the Commission President will be particularly challenging this year. Given the projected new balance of power after the elections both within the EP and within the Council as well as between the EP and the EU Council, an institutional stalemate cannot be ruled out. [more]
February 19, 2019
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Despite broad-based weakness in recent months, the stock of orders in German manufacturing remained on the uptrend, partly led by the lack of skilled labour and one-off factors in the auto industry (WLTP, diesel). Whilst the high volume of unfilled orders should stabilise industrial production in the current year, the peak ought to be near, as suggested by recent results of the ifo business survey. On balance, manufacturing production in Germany looks set to be virtually flat in 2019. [more]
February 13, 2019
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Ahead of the May 23–26 European Parliament elections, the EU is surrounded by internal and external challenges, its leaders increasingly divided, and its integrity and credibility challenged by Eurosceptic and anti-European groups across the continent. An extension of Article 50 could push the Brexit date close to or even beyond the European elections. Under EU treaties the UK would then be required to participate in the vote. The implications for the next EP – both if the UK agreed and refused to hold elections – could bear risks for the unanimity required in the European Council for an extension of Article 50 beyond the election date. [more]
February 12, 2019
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Robo-advice is a new breed in asset management. Robos’ assets under management have been growing quickly in Germany. However, the market is increasingly becoming concentrated and competitive. Robo portfolios have shown relatively robust performance recently. Yet the high costs of robo-advice in Germany are a drag on returns and may alienate potential customers. Current clients, meanwhile, are mostly middle-age, higher-income men rather than millennials. [more]
February 5, 2019
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Given much weaker than expected January business surveys and in particular the slump in their more forward-looking components we are now expecting the German economy to contract again in Q1 2019. Due to the yet unknown Q4 GDP outcome and its contradictory signals we currently refrain from formally revising our 1% GDP forecast lower again, but are expecting to shave off several tenths of a percentage point come February 22nd, unless the Statistical Offices Q4 GDP breakdown – and the new monthly data available by then – provide us with substantial positive surprises. While a technical recession might be avoided by a hair’s breadth with a positive Q4 number, the development of several key cyclical indicators is telling us that the German economy is drifting towards recession right now. [more]
February 4, 2019
Jim Reid, Global Head of Fundamental Credit Strategy and Thematic Research, explores how unique events, waves of populism and social unrest have often occurred through history. As far back as the French Revolution, such episodes were regularly associated with economic crisis, concerns over national identity, and fundamental dissatisfaction at the governing class. [more]
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