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Germany Monitor

In the "Germany Monitor" series we address political and structural issues which have great significance for Germany. These include commentaries on elections and political decisions, as well as technology and industry issues, and macro-economic topics which go beyond the business cycle matters addressed in "Focus Germany".

96 (51-60)
July 31, 2014
The recently announced plans for a free trade agreement between China and the EU are momentous. China is the EU’s No. 1 supplier of goods and its third-largest export market. In turn, the EU is China’s largest trading partner. Going by current trends, EU-China annual bilateral trade could grow close to 1.5 times in a decade’s time. Not only goods but also services trade has large potential to grow. Chinese investment into the EU is still in its infancy but is likely to increase and become more broad-based, covering a wider range of industries and countries across Europe. New dynamism is expected from a bilateral investment agreement currently in negotiation and rising interest of Chinese investors in European companies, as shown by our compilation of Chinese M&A deals vis-à-vis the EU and Germany. Plenty of headroom exists for greater use of RMB in bilateral trade and investment relations. A note of caution concerns the risk of trade disputes which is unlikely to be removed in the near term. [more]
51
June 26, 2014
Region:
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]
52
May 26, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
The differences between the German automotive industry and the automotive industry in Germany will continue to expand in the coming years – the construction of production capacities in the growth markets is progressing. Expansion abroad does not have to be to the detriment of Germany as an automaking location. However, a stable or even positive development of Germany as an automotive manufacturing location cannot be taken for granted. We outline three potential scenarios for the development of Germany as an automaking location until 2025. In our most likely scenario domestic car output remains at around its current level until then. At the same time Germany benefits from a gradual recovery in western European car demand. In addition, smaller export markets become more important. [more]
53
May 23, 2014
Region:
From the standpoint of potential company founders, an inadequate supply of funding is a key issue especially in a start-up's early phases. Therefore, we welcome the efforts of the crowdfunding movement from an economic perspective, particularly with regard to growth. However, there is an urgent need for action aimed at eliminating the existing information asymmetries and conflicts of interest between company founders, funding platforms and investors. [more]
54
May 5, 2014
Region:
Big data is increasingly becoming a factor in production, market competitiveness and, therefore, growth. Cutting-edge analysis technologies are making inroads into all areas of people’s lives and changing their day-to-day existence. Sensors, biometric identification and the general trends towards a convergence of information and communications technologies are driving the big data movement. Data has a commercial value – therefore the risks should not be underestimated. It is now a question of putting in place the necessary regulatory framework to allow these state-of-the-art methods and the technology that underpins them to properly flourish. [more]
55
April 23, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
Industry 4.0 will upgrade Germany as an industrial location by bringing on the fourth industrial revolution. With trade flows becoming increasingly internationally interlinked, the aspects associated with Industry 4.0 of automation, more flexible processes as well as horizontal and vertical integration will become more and more important features of a modern, competitive production structure. Especially for Germany with its particularly favourable basic conditions, Industry 4.0 provides the long-term major opportunity to consolidate the country's leading position in the competitive global marketplace – also relative to the fast-growing emerging markets. [more]
56
April 15, 2014
Region:
In our empirical analysis we investigate the substitution between weak bank lending and lush bond markets and we show that rising bank CDS spreads are consistently associated with positive growth in securities underwriting and negative growth in loan syndication. This suggests that banks and clients switch funding instruments in times of financial stress. In this regard, a well-developed bond market is an important element to increase financial resilience as it offers an alternative source of funding for the real economy and an alternative source of revenue to banks. However, we also note a worrying trend towards financial fragmentation during times of stress which limits diversification potential. [more]
57
March 11, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
The massive expansion of renewables in the last few years has led to an increase in the volatility of the power supply. As the implementation of the "Energiewende" is one of the crucial issues for the new federal government, this also requires innovative solutions that go beyond traditional technical storage facilities in our view. Looking ahead, the energy revolution may hardly succeed without power-to-gas as power-to-gas as a storage medium could offset the continuing strong increases in the volatilities in power supply. The prospects for power-to-gas are favourable. Experts claim the installation of power-to-gas systems with an electricity generation of 1,000 MW by 2022 to establish an initial market. If in the time thereafter – as we expect – the demand for electricity storage media continues to rise as a result of increasing green electricity quantities and fluctuations, power-to-gas is an appropriate answer to the currently still open question as to a sustainable technical solution. [more]
58
February 18, 2014
Substantial changes in global economic weights over the past decades, in particular the rise of China and India, combined with major shifts on the energy supply side – the US shale revolution – have increasingly shifted the Gulf countries’ economic focus towards the Asian continent. Asia is now the GCC’s most important trade partner, both in terms of its hydrocarbon exports as well as imports of machinery, manufactured goods and food. The growing trade ties have also been accompanied by intensified bilateral investment relations. The observed shift promises to give the GCC countries better access to rapidly growing Asian retail markets, not only in energy but also other sectors such as telecommunications and Islamic finance. This should help the GCC in its ambition to diversify its economies. Migrant workers from Asia contribute significantly to economic prosperity and development in the Gulf monarchies, although the socio-economic implications stemming from the rapidly growing expatriate communities in the region will pose some challenges. [more]
59
January 31, 2014
Corporate bond markets in Asia have expanded rapidly. Since the global financial crisis, Asian corporates have made increasing use of bond issuance for their funding needs, complementing traditional channels such as bank lending. While the bond markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea are comparatively advanced and liquid, markets in China, India, Indonesia and Thailand are still at an early stage of development. Considerable variation exists in terms of bond issuances' structural characteristics by sector, currency, issuing volume and the use of funds. Fast growth in bond markets has provided an effective source of financing for the corporate sector, but its development is far from complete. [more]
60
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