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Sectors and Resources

The Sector Research team analyses cyclical and structural developments. On the basis of its findings it draws up business and policy recommendations for the major sectors. These include the important branches of industry as well as wholesale/retail, services, energy, transportation and environmental policy

153 (101-110)
February 6, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
Manufacturing output in Germany rose by 1.9% in real terms in 2014. Q4 helped to end the year on an upbeat note, as a decline in output at the end of 2014 – which we had still been forecasting in autumn – did not materialise. The outlook for 2015 has also improved. German industry is getting a boost from the depreciation of the euro, which is materialising faster and more heavily than expected, as well as from the surprisingly steep drop in the oil price. We have therefore recently raised our forecast for manufacturing output in 2015 in real terms ¾% to 1.5%. [more]
101
February 2, 2015
Region:
Late last year we raised our GDP forecast for Germany from 0.8% to 1.0% on account of the steep downside correction on expectations for oil prices. We now expect German GDP growth to hit 1.4% in 2015. Reasons: Growth slightly exceeded expectations in Q4 2014; the oil price forecast for 2015 has been lowered again; and the euro has fallen more sharply against the US dollar than anticipated. Given this good outlook for the economy Germany's public budgets are likely to show a slight surplus again in 2015. Moreover, the current account surplus is set to jump to 8% of GDP. This suggests there will be further calls for Germany to use its fiscal room for manoeuvre to pursue a public investment programme. Also, international criticism of German economic policy is likely to grow louder. Further topics in this issue: German industrial output forecast upped to 1.5%, 10 "golden" rules for ifo, PMI and Co., The view from Berlin. [more]
102
January 9, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
Germany's service sectors have shown themselves to be keener to invest than industry in recent years. The net fixed assets held by the service sectors grew by almost 28% in real terms between 1995 and 2012, although their growth rate has slowed over time. By contrast, the capital stock in the industrial sectors has shrunk by 1.6% in real terms. While, on the one hand, politicians in Germany have been expressing regret or even voicing criticism over the country's current lack of capital spending, on the other they have recently introduced measures (such as their policies on pensions and labour markets) that are hampering investment in Germany rather than stimulating it; this approach is inconsistent. [more]
103
January 6, 2015
Region:
Following a weak winter half in 2014/15 the economy looks likely to regain its footing as 2015 progresses. However, sluggish performance at the turn of the year means growth will probably average only 1% in 2015 after 1.4% in 2014. It is encouraging, however, that private consumption should remain a major pillar of growth, whereas net exports are likely to have a neutral impact. Nonetheless, signs are increasing that some – in our opinion misguided – economic policy moves (such as the introduction of a nationwide minimum wage as well as an enhanced pensions package) are weighing on the labour market and thus on consumption. Given a weakening of cyclical activity and the costs of economic policy measures, we expect the general government budget to be slightly in deficit in 2015. [more]
104
December 15, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
The integration of road transport into the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) using an upstream approach (with refineries and fuel importers as participants) is superior to the instrument of CO2 limit values for cars on the counts of ecological effectiveness and macroeconomic efficiency. This applies in particular if a cap on CO2 emissions enjoys top political priority. Higher taxes on fuel would also be more appropriate than a further tightening of limit values after 2020/21. Nonetheless, if policymakers should decide that (stricter) CO2 limit values for cars are to remain the instrument of choice after 2021, it would be appropriate to gear them to the (lower) targets in other large auto markets. [more]
105
November 13, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
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]
106
November 11, 2014
Region:
In sections of the financial industry there are many web- and data-based financial products and services that customers cannot obtain from either their bank or a similar provider. Non-bank, primarily technology-driven providers are increasingly entering the markets for less knowledge-intensive and easily standardisable financial services. Despite valuable comparative advantages that traditional banks have to offer they need to undergo a radical course of innovation therapy during the digital transformation process. To this end modern data analysis methods should be used just as routinely as a seamlessly integrated web of all distribution channels. Modern technologies and appropriate finance-specific internet services need to be implemented efficiently and above all in a timely manner. Strengthening one's own brand and identity as well as the obligation to handle client data confidentially will also help to deliver a sustained increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. [more]
107
November 5, 2014
Region:
We have cut our German GDP growth forecast from 1.5% to 1.3% for 2014 and further from 1.5% to 0.8% for 2015. We do not see Germany falling into a technical recession in Q3. But the 6 month slump of the ifo index has increased the risk that we might see a negative GDP print in Q4 2014 or Q1 2015. The positive effect of weaker oil prices will be offset by wage growth slowing from 3% plus this year towards 2% in 2015, as export-orientated sectors will respond to weaker external demand. Further topics in this issue: German industry: Temporary slowdown; German construction: Robust investment, but price momentum slowing; Inheritance tax: Constitutional Court ruling likely to weigh harder on business heirs; 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: "Blooming landscapes" only in part. [more]
108
October 30, 2014
Region:
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]
109
August 27, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
Besides transport and energy infrastructure, communications infrastructure is steadily gaining in importance in the regional competition to attract investment. One source of concern in particular though is the significant gulf in investment both between west German and east German federal states as well as between urban and rural regions. This is compounded by the problem that there is usually no viable business model for projects in rural areas without government subsidies. As there is no such thing as a standard blueprint for the broadband rollout with its huge investment requirements, every single project with its specific local features needs to undergo a critical economic feasibility analysis. On this basis, efforts should be taken to work out the best rollout model in terms of technology, funding and time horizon, respectively. In essence, the broadband rollout in Germany requires more government stimuli to foster private investment, but these efforts need to be coordinated and based on sound judgement. [more]
110
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