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Focus Germany

Focus Germany deals with macroeconomic and economic policy issues in Germany. Each issue also contains a timetable of financial and economic policy events as well as a detailed data monitor of German economic indicators.

59 Documents
April 10, 2018
Region:
In 2017, Germany’s goods exports rose 6.2% in nominal terms, and the trade surplus was the second highest ever. In particular, exports to China and the Netherlands increased considerably. US comments on free trade have caused irritation recently and dampened the outlook for German exports, even though the EU (and, consequently, Germany) have so far been exempted from higher US import tariffs. German capital goods producers and pharmaceuticals companies would be hit hardest by a trade dispute, as the export ratios of these sectors are particularly high. Moreover, the US are an important market for them. (Also included in this issue: rental inflation, fiscal outlook 2018/19, Merkel's fourth legislative period) [more]
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March 13, 2018
Region:
Despite the unexpected weakness of domestic demand in H2, sluggish January retail sales and production data and a downshift in industrial surveys in February, we believe that the German economy's boom will continue in 2018, given the elevated levels of these surveys, capacity utilization or order books. The booming economy is reflected in a clear pick-up in agreed pay increases and a strong wage drift. Still, our model shows an only limited pass-through into core inflation, which will rise towards 2%. As the price pressure in volatile components (food, energy) is abating headline inflation will move more or less sideways in 2018/19. [more]
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February 6, 2018
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The economy continues to steam ahead, with quarterly GDP growth of 0.5% qoq in the winter half. A tight labour market and swelling order books are boosting the union's bargaining power so they are pushing hard for higher wages, although increases might fall short of expectations among workers and the ECB tower. Meanwhile in Berlin, Groko hopefuls are spending Germany's fiscal surpluses, seemingly unconcerned with demographic challenges and the fact that record low interest rates and above potential growth will not last. This party will likely go on for some time - maybe even a few years. However, the situation feels increasingly reminiscent of carnival revellers' popular song "Am Aschermittwoch ist alles vorbei" (It's all over on Ash Wednesday). [more]
3
December 15, 2017
Region:
With a growth rate of probably 2.3% in 2017, Germany delivered the main positive surprise in the industrial world. In 2018, German GDP looks set to expand by 2.3% again. If this forecast materialises, Germany will grow at an above-potential rate for the fifth year in a row. The upcoming wage round and resilient demand combined with the global decline in free capacities might, however, push up prices more strongly than currently expected. We already voiced concerns ahead of the Bundestag elections that the new government (just like its predecessor) might not pay sufficient attention to urgent challenges such as digitalisation, demographics and globalisation as the labour market situation is favourable. Now that forming a government has turned out to be unexpectedly difficult our concerns have increased. [more]
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November 3, 2017
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Envisaged Jamaica coalition: After the exploratory talks is before the negotiations. It would not come as a surprise, if the coalition formation were to take longer than ever before in the Federal Republic and if the chancellor were not until January. Given that in many areas critical details remained unresolved in the first round of the exploratory talks, further challenging rounds will follow in the next few weeks. Only after that will the official coalition talks begin - provided the Greens sound the all-clear at their party convention. The search for compromises is aggravated, as many of the partners’ requests have to remain unfulfilled despite buoyant tax revenues. Initially, i.e. in 2018, the economic impulse of a "black-yellow-green" fiscal policy is likely to be very limited. But steps in the right direction of strengthening Germany are on the horizon. Another positive is the clear commitment to a united and strong Europe. (Also included in this issue: November tax estimate, German current account surplus, trends in the EU industry) [more]
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October 6, 2017
Region:
The view from Berlin: Jamaica unlikely to trigger fundamental policy changes. The total additional fiscal impulse provided by a Jamaica coalition could in our view amount to between EUR 15 bn and EUR 20 bn in 2018. This would be only marginally more than the EUR 15 bn tax cuts "promised" by the outgoing Minister of Finance, which we had already taken into account in our 1.8% GDP forecast for 2018. Proposals in the FDP's election platform to scale back the ESM and to install an orderly EMU exit procedure have raised concerns among some EU politicians. We doubt that these two proposals will make it into the coalition treaty. Despite the FDP's insistence on more market- and rule-based procedure within EMU, it is very unlikely that Germany would not provide the necessary support if another EMU country slipped into acute crisis. (Also included in this issue: Public finances after the election, World trade) [more]
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September 6, 2017
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Germany booming but wage-inflation still missing. We have lifted our 2017 GDP forecast from 1.6% to 1.9%. 2018 we revised only marginally up (from 1.7% to 1.8%) as we expect euro-induced export headwinds to counteract domestic strength. In H1 the economy expanded with an annualized rate of 2.6%. With EUR appreciation feeding through only gradually and capex picking up, GDP growth should slow only marginally in H2. 2018 kicks off with wage negotiation in key sectors. The strong labour market suggests wage settlements north of 3%, but the (classic) Phillips curve nexus is only weak and other factors could weigh. (Also included in this issue: German wage round in 2018, industry output forecast, The view from Berlin) [more]
7
August 8, 2017
Region:
Forecast for German Q2 GDP lifted to 0.8%. Strong private consumption boosts retail sales. Germany’s fiscal outlook: Goldilocks will not last forever. The view from Berlin: Asylum policy & refugee issues back on stage. [more]
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July 7, 2017
Region:
The German economy is likely to have maintained its rapid growth rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending, in particular, has been stronger than expected thanks to the recent fall in oil prices and the continuing significant rise in employment levels. We have revised our GDP forecast for the whole year upwards to 1.6% (1.3%) which is equivalent to a calendar-adjusted rate of 2%. Considerable house price increases in 2017 and 2018 – and more significant wealth effects? The view from Berlin. Summertime and election campaigns. [more]
9
June 6, 2017
Region:
After Q1’s sturdy 0.6% qoq GDP growth, soft indicators do not signal any moderation of the growth momentum. Employment in 2017 so far, has been expanding at similar clip as in 2016, making our 1% consumption forecast for 2017 quite conservative. Exports have rebounded in the winter half – in line with global trade. The growth momentum of global trade seems to have peaked; therefore, we remain cautious, predicting 3.6% German export growth in 2017 after 2.7% last year. In combination with lingering geo-political uncertainty this will weigh on investment spending, where a utilization rate of 2pp above its long-term average suggests a still limited necessity to invest. Following Q1 GDP growth of 0.6% we have revised our 2017 GDP forecast to 1.3% (1.1%). Latest confidence surveys, however, hint at further upside potential and increasing risks of over-heating for 2018. Political observers in Germany have recently been focusing on the SPD’s ups and downs in the polls and the CDU’s reverse showing while smaller parties are fighting for public attention. From the present point of view (polls) a Jamaica coalition is the sole arithmetically feasible alternative to a renewed grand coalition after the September election. (Further topics: German industrial output – forecast for 2017; Corporate funding in Q1 – lending) [more]
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