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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.

54 Documents
November 3, 2017
Region:
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]
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August 8, 2017
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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
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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]
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June 6, 2017
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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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May 5, 2017
Growth in global trade almost stagnated at just 1.3% in 2016, and in some months was even negative. During winter, global trade picked up again, rising by around 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. Given the positive sentiment prevailing across the globe, this rebound could well continue. However, this trend is not yet being fully reflected in other hard economic indicators, usually highly correlated with global trade, and sentiment may therefore overstate the actual trend a little. Still, our simple model of world trade, which suggests moderate growth of just over 2% in 2017 and around 3% in 2018 might represent the lower limit of the forecast range. However, compared to previous cycles the upturn could remain weak, not least because of the global trade restrictions that have been progressively ratcheted up since 2008. [more]
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April 6, 2017
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In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
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March 9, 2017
Region:
At face value the pick-up of GDP growth at the end of 2016 (Q4: +0.4% qoq vs. +0.1% prev.) seems to fit with improving sentiment. However, given its composition we would argue that underlying growth was weaker than the headline suggests. We stick to our below consensus GDP forecast for 2017 (1.1%) and only make cosmetic changes in the details. We are raising our inflation forecast slightly overall for 2017, from 1.6% to 1.7%, compared with only 0.5% in 2016. We still expect core inflation to be only slightly above 1% in 2017. If the signs of global price increases are confirmed, then we could in fact see a more pronounced increase in core inflation, particularly if rising prices translate into second-round effects when wage negotiations are conducted in 2018. (Further articles: German industry, German election campaign) [more]
9
January 30, 2017
Region:
2016 GDP growth picked up further relative to the previous two years (1.9% vs. 1.7%). Growth was strongly tilted towards consumption thanks to several tailwinds (refugee crisis, low inflation, labour market strength), while slowing exports weighed on private equipment investment: With several tailwinds fading and a strong workday effect weighing, GDP growth looks set to slow to 1.1% in 2017. Recent sentiment indicators herald some upside risks for the current quarter. However, the 2.3 point drop in the expectations component of the January ifo index seems to corroborate our more cautious stance. In an unexpected turn, SPD party leader Gabriel announced that he would not run against Angela Merkel. Instead Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, will be the party’s frontrunner. Mr. Schulz’s unexpected nomination is likely to push the SPD’s campaign for the federal election on September 24 but unlikely to derail Merkel. [more]
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