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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German ‘Energiewende’: Many targets out of sight
Abstract: Many of the environmental-performance targets of the German ‘Energiewende’ are in fact falling behind the time scale that is actually required – some of them are significantly behind schedule. Progress is largely achieved where major subsidies are provided via some form of support programme. Where there is no such support, or subsidies and incentives are small, or too small, targets are starting to be missed. One criticism is that no quantifiable targets have been drawn up in the areas of economics/efficiency and security of supply. If the current status of the ‘Energiewende’ had to be described in one sentence, it might be that Germany has probably taken on too much in too short a time. We believe there are four main limiting factors: cost, physical limits, the available time budget and political feasibility.
Topics: Auto industry; Construction industry; Economic policy; Economic structure; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Fiscal policy; Gas industry; Housing policy; Key issues; Natural resources; Other sectors; Real econ. trends; Residential real estate; Sectors / commodities; Social values / Consumer behaviour; Sustainability; Tax policy; Transport; Transport policy
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Cash incentives to purchase electric cars are not the ideal solution
Abstract: The demand for electric cars in Germany remains low. Their share of total new car registrations was less than 1% in 2015. The clamour is increasing among policymakers in favour of stimulating demand with the aid of cash incentives. The argument is that if such incentives were high enough the market share of electric cars would indeed increase faster than has been the case to date. Nevertheless, there is a host of economic, regulatory and social policy reasons that argue against cash incentives. We continue to favour an integration of road traffic into the EU Emissions Trading System in order to limit the sector's CO2 emissions
Topics: Auto industry; Economic policy; Economic structure; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Fiscal policy; Key issues; Natural resources; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Transport; Transport policy
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Falling oil price benefits pickups and the like in the US
Topics: Auto industry; Business cycle; Energy sector; Key issues; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Transport
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UN Climate Change Conference in Paris: Between optimism and realism
Abstract: Roughly 150 countries have submitted their national climate protection commitments in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. While these commitments will probably not suffice to meet the 2°C target, related assessments are very favourable nonetheless. Obviously, the bottom-up approach, that is to say the voluntary national climate protection commitments, promises greater progress than the globally coordinated negotiated solution targeted at past UN climate conferences. There is an awareness that the current proposals have shortcomings as regards the 2°C target, but there are hopes that the individual countries will aim for more ambitious targets over the next few years. Sentiment is thus swinging between optimism and realism. Considering the growing demand for energy, the international community is clearly only just beginning to encounter the real challenges of climate protection.
Topics: Economic policy; Energy policy; Energy sector; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Gas industry; Globalisation; Intern. relations; Key issues; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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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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