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Talking Point

In Talking Point we present our take on current affairs and developments in the worlds of business, financial markets and politics.

162 Documents
March 25, 2021
Region:
Single-family homes have recently been drawn into the discussion about suitable climate-policy measures in Germany. However, arguing about whether and to what extent single-family homes contribute to climate change or consume more resources than multi-family homes simply draws away the attention from the real energy and climate-policy challenges in the building sector. Moreover, the discussion underlines once again that calls for certain climate-policy measures often clash with how millions of people live or would prefer to live. [more]
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March 25, 2021
Region:
2020 was an extraordinary year for banks, as for most other industries. In Europe, banks barely made money, as revenues fell substantially and loan loss provisions doubled. Expense cuts cushioned the blow only partly. Capital and liquidity ratios reached record highs though, thanks to disciplined risk management and funding support from central banks. Once again, European banks underperformed their US peers. But how do their results compare in the longer term, ten years after the end of the financial crisis, and also vis-à-vis smaller competitors? [more]
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February 5, 2021
Region:
2020 ended on a conciliatory note for European banks. Following a heavy hit in H1, H2 saw a dynamic recovery in the economy and financial markets, which helped slow down the rise in loan loss provisions and buoyed trading income. Corporate loan growth stabilised but remained elevated and retail lending shrug off the crisis, while banks’ liquidity reserves at the ECB surged to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Government bond holdings initially rose strongly before calming down a bit. Capital and liquidity ratios weathered the crisis well, without even needing support from supervisors which relaxed a number of rules, at the risk of undermining confidence and transparency though. The outlook for 2021 is more benign with bank profitability set to rebound significantly thanks to much lower loss provisions. [more]
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February 2, 2021
Region:
Analyst:
If green hydrogen is to make a significant contribution to climate-friendly energy supply in the future, it will need to be produced (1) in large quantities, (2) cost-efficiently and (3) using low-carbon methods. Any solutions to these problems have remained in the realm of theory so far. Additional challenges arise in connection with the transport and storage of hydrogen. Initially, green hydrogen will be used to satisfy large-scale demand at specific locations, for example in energy-intensive industries. Like many other climate-friendly technologies, hydrogen will need government subsidies in the beginning. In the longer run, hydrogen might be used in the transport sector as well, for example as aircraft or ship fuel. In theory, hydrogen is highly versatile. However, it is quite expensive, too. That is one reason why hydrogen will probably make only a small contribution to the national and global energy transition in the next one or two decades. [more]
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February 1, 2021
The quick development of highly effective vaccines and, of course, expectations of huge fiscal stimulus in the US had made investors optimistic about global growth. However, their hopes were recently dampened as vaccination campaigns were slow to start and, in Europe, experienced supply problems. Furthermore, concerns about more infectious COVID mutations have led to prolonged and more restrictive lockdowns which have weighed on business and consumer sentiment. That has stopped the equity market uptrend for now. [more]
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November 11, 2020
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Analyst:
The European Green Deal labels the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 as a growth strategy where no one is left behind. This is akin to squaring the circle. In the next few years, we will see whether we, as a society, are ready for an honest democratic discussion about climate neutrality. We will have to deal with inconvenient questions and inconvenient truths. But if this discussion does not take place, climate neutrality will remain a just topic for fine speeches and promises – and nothing will be said, much less done, that could hurt anybody. [more]
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October 8, 2020
Region:
After the summer break new cases have picked up strongly in most of Germany’s neighboring countries. In many cases (France, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic), numbers are (by far) exceeding the peaks reported in spring or are back at these levels (Belgium, Austria). Various governments have introduced new measures, such as Paris shutting down parts of the hospitality and leisure sector, and Spain ordering a partial lockdown in Madrid, albeit not as encompassing as in April. In other countries, social distancing and mask-wearing rules have been tightened or are being discussed. [more]
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October 2, 2020
Region:
The sizeable fiscal gaps in 2020/21 caused by the corona pandemic – which, just at the federal government level, are reflected in record new borrowing of around EUR 218 bn and EUR 96 bn, respectively – are a harsh setback for ensuring long-term public debt sustainability. In this week’s debate on the federal budget Finance Minister Scholz assured that no fiscal action in response to the crisis would be more expensive than fiscal action. But for the next federal government this appraisal might also hold true – but then with respect to fiscal consolidation. [more]
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September 29, 2020
Analyst:
During the last few weeks, the German Federal Foreign Office has issued more and more travel warnings for other EU countries on the grounds of rising COVID-19 infection figures. If infections continue to trend upwards or remain high during autumn and winter, the number of travel warnings for EU countries and regions will rise as well during the winter season of 2020/21. And unless policymakers take measures to mitigate the impact, the tourism industry, in particular travel agents in Germany and hospitality providers abroad, will be faced with a similar situation to a new lockdown in the coming weeks and months. Quick and uncomplicated access to reliable coronavirus tests might be an option to allow travelling during the pandemic. The test costs should be borne by the travellers themselves. Ultimately, corona-related health risks will have to be weighed against the impact of higher hurdles for travelling and their negative economic consequences. [more]
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August 13, 2020
Region:
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on growth in the second quarter was dramatic, no doubt about it. But economic data, as well as the daily and weekly real-time indicators that are now being watched meticulously, show that most countries began to reemerge from the slump back in May. In Germany, production was down by “just” 11.5% year over year in June, after a drop of nearly 25% in April. [more]
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