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Josef Auer

More documents written by Josef Auer

17 Documents
October 2, 2017
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The German retail sector has visibly lifted its sales forecast for 2017, up from 2% to 3%. The key driver is online retail, along with the currently very consumer-friendly economic environment in Germany, which strengthens consumers‘ purchasing power. The digitisation of the retail sector has in many respects become a challenge for the established stationary stores. But at the same time, it creates new opportunities for retailers to respond to changing consumer demands. The supermarket is, per se, not necessarily the loser, as is illustrated by the current success of multi-channel retail, which allows greater flexibility for the customers, thereby creating an entirely new shopping experience. [more]
September 12, 2017
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German industrial policy has been cautious over the past few decades, especially in comparison with several other European countries. And this approach has been successful. The German government should continue to refrain from active industrial policy. Nevertheless, we believe that greater state engagement or a realignment of existing policy is vital in some areas. One area where we see a need for action is network infrastructure. When it comes to the shift in German energy policy, it would be sensible to focus more strongly on what is genuinely achievable. [more]
July 10, 2017
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The German mechanical engineering sector recently tripled its growth forecast for 2017, from 1% to 3% (both in real terms). Robotics and automation is an important growth driver; this sub-segment is likely to increase output by 7%, i.e. double the rate of the segment as a whole. The mega issue “Industry 4.0” plays a key role for this development. As this trend is gaining importance both in Germany and around the world, the medium-term outlook for the sub-segment remains excellent as well. [more]
October 28, 2016
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German wage growth slowed in H1 2016 and there is a range of factors that are likely to also put a lid on the pick-up in 2017. The impact of labour shortage is limited by material mismatch between the qualifications of the unemployed and those sought by employers as well as substantial immigration flows. High real wage gains have pushed up unit labour costs and weighed on corporate profitability, which is further undermined by low productivity growth. Cautious wage agreements in 2016 on average stipulate only 2% wage increases in 2017. Despite a 4% increase in the statutory minimum wage, aggregate wages should increase by only around 2 ½%. According to our forecasts, next year could see the growth rate for industrial production in Germany drop to 0.5% in real terms. Regarding output in Germany’s large industrial sectors we do not expect major outliers. Also in this issue: “The View from Berlin. All lights on the debates about personalities and tactical gambits.” [more]
December 3, 2015
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Industrial output in Germany is likely to expand by around 0.5% in real terms in 2015. For 2016, we expect growth close to zero. This means the sustained phase of relatively muted economic dynamics of industrial output seen since 2012 would continue. The rather stable development of producer prices in recent months also provides evidence that would indicate subdued industrial activity. Our forecast for industrial output implies that manufacturing’s share in total German gross value added will shrink for 2015 and 2016. [more]
August 13, 2015
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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. [more]
May 28, 2015
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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. [more]
May 27, 2015
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The period up to 2025 offers the German steel industry good prospects for a stable and economically sound future. However, this requires policymakers to take a reasonable approach to the further development of the regulatory framework for steel producers and their customer industries in Germany just as it requires only a modest level of expansion in steel capacity at global level. There are also other conceivable scenarios with greater risks, challenges and consequences for the German steel industry and its employees – and these alternatives are in no way completely improbable. [more]
November 13, 2014
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German engineering firms must prepare to confront several trends over the medium term. The first of these is that a new, bipolar world of engineering markets is emerging. The United States and (once again) China are set to become especially promising centres of growth going forward. Further future trends are, secondly, the gradual shift in product focus towards customised system solutions; thirdly, the growing importance of not purely price-related competitive factors; and fourthly, the reconfiguration of the global division of labour in the engineering sector as the classic distinction between producer countries focusing on standard machinery and others focusing on speciality equipment becomes increasingly untenable. Provided that traditional suppliers to the manufacturing sector manage to spot the new mega-trends in good time, they will be able to build on these to develop promising strategies that enable them to adapt, survive and – ultimately – grow. [more]
October 30, 2014
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Following weak performance in winter half-year 2014/15 industrial production in Germany is likely to return to a moderate uptrend in the course of 2015, resulting in expansion of roughly 1.5% in real terms in 2014 and about ¾% in 2015. This means the generally muted dynamics of industrial performance in evidence since 2011 would continue in 2015. Industry's share in total German gross value added (2013: 21.8%) will probably decline again, as in 2012 and 2013. The only moderate growth of industry is primarily attributable to the currently subdued level of business activity and external shocks. Nonetheless, structural factors are going to regain importance. The ball is now in the politicians' court. Many of their recently adopted measures give rise to fears that Germany's international competitiveness as an industrial location is likely to decline. [more]
September 30, 2014
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The recent positive surprises provided by real economic indicators have for now banished concerns that Germany might slide into recession in Q3. However, the ongoing geopolitical risks and the question marks hanging over the expected cyclical upturn will probably lead to weaker growth in exports and company investment. That is why we have scaled back our growth forecast for the winter half-year 2014/2015. Thus, we have lowered our forecast from 1.8% to 1.5%. In our current issue we also address Germany’s fiscal position, we analyse the consequences of potential Russian gas supply disruptions and we take a look at the investment behaviour of German households. [more]
June 26, 2014
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Due to numerous political incentives, especially relating to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the renewables share has increased sixfold since 1997 with regard to both primary energy consumption and electricity generation. Germany's first energy policy rethink (or Energiewende 1.0) not only sent costs ballooning but also impacted on electricity prices, the generation mix and emissions trading. And despite the EEG the contribution of wind/solar to primary energy consumption (PEC) was a mere 2%-plus in 2013. Overall, the “green electricity share” could reach roughly 60% by 2035. But how will the remaining 40% be generated – in view of the Energiewende 2.0? Depending on the scenario, the onus is more on natural gas or coal. [more]