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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".

100 (21-30)
August 8, 2017
Region:
Defence policy and defence expenditures have moved into the light of public attention ahead of September parliamentary elections, fuelled by US criticism of Europe’s NATO spending, the experience of the refugee crisis but also regained momentum for European integration. While NATO membership and EU defence integration is supported by the German public, a majority rejects an increase in the military budget. To reach NATO’s 2% of GDP target by 2024, defence expenditures would have to more than double within seven years. Mainstream parties agree that a more holistic security framework is required but they are divided on the details, in particular when it comes to the question on how much to spend for it. [more]
21
August 3, 2017
Region:
The benign economic and public environment allows to fundamentally address shortcomings of the E(M)U. The next German government’s term is faced with numerous challenges ranging from Brexit and its impact on the next EU Budget to migration and the upgrade of the euro area. A revitalised relation with France provides the opportunity for substantive steps to further stabilise the euro area albeit Germany and France need to find common ground on many issues and seek the support of EU partners. European politics is still less of a topic for the German electorate not least as mainstream parties are all various shades of pro-European. However, the next government’s party composition is likely to matter for both speed and scope of changes on European level. [more]
22
July 19, 2017
Region:
In an international comparison, Germany’s fiscal situation is very good – thanks to robust GDP growth and zero interest rates. In the short to medium term, dynamic revenue growth should help to ensure that Germany’s fiscal situation remains comfortable, even though expenses look set to rise strongly as well. Public finances are currently benefiting from buoyant growth, low interest rates and a “demographic respite”. Rising interest rates and the ageing society look set to put the public finances under considerable pressure from the middle of the coming decade. However, the long-term fiscal risks do not appear to play a major role in the current election campaign. [more]
23
July 17, 2017
Region:
The debate over welfare policy in Germany appears to be paradoxical. Albeit steadily rising social spending, some critics believe that there is a social imbalance. But social security continues to have a positive impact while the welfare system is benefiting from the positive economic development. A further expansion of the welfare state is in the cards given not only the demographic trend but also the parties’ proposals in the current election campaigns. Sustainability of the welfare system is playing second fiddle only despite the fact that already taxpayers are burdened with avoidable costs. [more]
24
July 3, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
The traditional automobile industry and companies that, in the past, had no involvement in the sector, are working hard to create software solutions, driver assistance systems and other technologies that will make networked, autonomous, traffic jam and accident-free driving possible. That means the “digital car” in its ideal form is no longer a utopian vision for the future, but is instead gradually taking shape. However, the path to the digital car will be more of an evolution than a revolution. That is the result of factors on both the supply and demand side. They include the considerable development times in the industry and the longevity of its products, cars. Consumer preferences, which have been shaped over decades, are also unlikely to change over night. It will take several decades for digital cars to make up a significant proportion of cars on the road – that is unlikely to happen before 2040. [more]
25
July 3, 2017
Region:
The developed industrial countries have experienced a steady decline in trend growth since the mid-70s – and Germany is no exception. The robust cyclical upswing is veiling this creeping erosion of growth. The demographic developments will considerably weigh on trend growth in the medium and the longer term. They will dampen labour supply, capital formation and total factor productivity. By 2025, trend growth looks set to halve again, to only ¾%. The electoral programmes of the established parties incorporate different positions on this key issue, as is to be expected. [more]
26
January 13, 2017
Region:
Munich remains the most dynamic German city when it comes to property, with its fast-rising population and historically low vacancy rate likely to lead to further price increases for many years to come. Further price rises are also expected in Berlin, although the main factors at play here are the very buoyant labour market and the fact that prices and rents are still relatively low for a European capital city. Of the German cities that were analysed for this report, Frankfurt has shown the lowest increase in prices in the current cycle. However, we are now seeing a Brexit effect, which is driving up prices for family homes in particular. Sluggish rent growth and a high level of construction activity are the most striking trends in Hamburg, which could make the city more sensitive to interest rate movements than other urban centres. The situation is similar in Düsseldorf, where the vacancy rate in the current cycle is relatively high for a large German city. For every city analysed here and for the overall German housing market we anticipate further price increases in the coming years. All the macroeconomic conditions that might signal an end to the cycle – such as a turnaround in interest rate policy, a massive expansion of supply and/or a slowdown in migration to Germany – are not yet fulfilled and it is likely to be several years before they materialise. Consequently, we expect rents and property prices in the major German cities and across the country to continue to rise sharply in 2017. [more]
28
November 28, 2016
Region:
The question regarding the consequences of a Brexit for the EU, the United Kingdom and Germany is expected to remain unanswered for some time. The political uncertainties and exit scenarios range from a contentious separation to a second referendum. At present, however, we can expect that Frankfurt will be one of places to benefit most from a Brexit. In light of the differences between the size of London and Frankfurt, London's crumbs could become Frankfurt's pie. The relocation of jobs to Frankfurt is also likely to boost property demand. The additional demand potential is welcome on the Frankfurt office market because it will equalise structurally induced reductions in the financial sector and will tend to lead to further reductions in vacancies and increase rents. The assumed 5,000 office workers are likely to relocate to the highly priced sub-markets close to the city centre. However, as new building projects also focus on these sub-markets, positive demand effects will be diluted. Because of existing demand overhangs, disadvantages are emerging on the Frankfurt residential property market from a potential relocation of employees. Price growth and the shortage of housing will remain elevated for the foreseeable future. An additional 5,000 homes and a correspondingly elevated housing shortage are likely to drive prices up by more than EUR 100 per m². While purchase prices remain affordable thanks to low interest rates, they are strongly dependent on future interest rate developments. [more]
29
November 8, 2016
Region:
Over the next three to five years, global trade is likely to grow only at or around the same pace as global GDP. This structurally weaker momentum will be reflected in slow growth in the global and regional flow of goods, as has already been the case in recent years. In its role as an open, export-oriented economy, Germany – and the German logistics sector in particular – will continue to feel the sting of this development. At a nominal average of 2% a year, turnover growth in the sector is likely to be below the long-term average in the years ahead. [more]
30
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