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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 (81-90)
August 24, 2012
Region:
We assess the economic outlook for the Western Balkan region, including Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Each country in the region is on the road to EU accession, though they are at very different stages of the process. The most advanced, Croatia, is set to become the EU’s 28th member towards the middle of next year. For the rest, it could be a long road given the economic and political challenges that they face, and also a sense of enlargement fatigue among some existing member states. [more]
82
March 14, 2012
Region:
Analyst:
“Unity in diversity” – is how the debt and financing structure of Germany’s Länder could be neatly summed up, since there are very significant differences between the regions with regard to both the volume and the type and maturity of the debt. Whereas in the past the Länder mainly financed themselves by borrowing from credit institutions, the importance of capital market paper has grown sharply in the meantime. For example, the volume of Länder bonds has risen to more than EUR 300 bn of late. A highly important factor in this connection is the solidarity within the federal state, as the Länder benefit from the good credit rating of the Federation when they procure capital market funding. [more]
83
September 15, 2011
Region:
Analyst:
2010 saw the establishment of Germany's Stability Council, a joint body representing the Federation and the Länder with a mandate to avert serious budget problems. At the third meeting of the Council in late May 2011 it wasted no time in formally determining the existence of a looming budgetary emergency in the four Länder of Berlin, Bremen, Saarland und Schleswig-Holstein. These four states have until mid-October to devise five-year restructuring programmes mapping out how they intend to eliminate their budget imbalances. What does this mean for federal and Länder fiscal policy in practice? And how is this to be viewed against the backdrop of the new debt brakes to be installed as of 2016 and 2020, respectively? How does this approach to more sustainable financial planning and greater coordination compare with efforts at the EU level? [more]
84
July 13, 2011
Region:
Analyst:
The German textile and clothing industry has experienced a dramatic structural change in the last few decades. Competitive pressure has led, on the one hand, to declining domestic production and, particularly in the case of labour-intensive products, to the transfer of production abroad. On the other hand, firms are concurrently concentrating more on technically demanding textiles, innovative products and strong brands, and are orienting themselves more internationally. [more]
85
May 27, 2011
Region:
Analyst:
The financial situation of Germany’s Länder, or constituent federal states, is often overshadowed by the situation of the Federation and the municipalities. In the course of this year DB Research plans to publish a series of articles on various topics pertaining to the Länder and their finances. This launch study aims to highlight the complex financial relations between the Federation and the Länder as well as the latter’s limited autonomy. The Länder are allowed to make largely autonomous decisions solely in respect of borrowing; capital market financing has gained considerable significance for a number of them. The scope of the financial equalisation system and the judgements handed down by the Federal Constitutional Court ensure the practical anchoring of the solidarity principle, which is tantamount to a joint liability system with a bail-out guarantee. More Länder autonomy – partly by means of a surcharge on income tax – would make sense. The creation of the Stability Council and a debt brake at Länder level has for the first time produced a preventive instrument for timely corrective action in the event of budget imbalances. [more]
86
March 15, 2011
Region:
Of course it is important to keep close tabs on the path of inflation going forward – especially in view of a volatile oil price – and the ECB has spoken also in this context of its “strong vigilance”. Yet an inflation rate of 2% or perhaps 2 ½% in the coming months largely represents a reversion to the normal pattern following the recession-induced lows of the past two years, driven mainly by oil and food prices. In any event, on the assumption that food and oil prices return to normal our DB Research inflation model forecasts no dramatic surge in inflation. We are aware, though, that some of the structural changes of the past decades may have reduced the meaningfulness of the forecasts produced by such a model. [more]
87
January 4, 2011
Region:
Our forecast of 2% GDP growth in Germany in 2011 is indeed quite optimistic. Moreover, there are two articles in this issue of Current Issues which demonstrate that the financial and economic crisis has not dampened growth potential in Germany. On the one hand, no structural imbalances developed prior to the crisis. On the other hand, in particular the labour market reforms and successful company restructuring over the last decade have ensured that the German economy is in excellent shape on an international comparison. The adjustment processes had, however, resulted in weak growth in household income. This could now improve. Private consumption is expected to grow by almost 1 ½% p.a. on a medium-term horizon. This would, however, be a sustainable performance that is not based on debt and real estate bubbles – in sharp contrast with the considerably higher consumption growth in several countries before the crisis. [more]
88
January 29, 2009
Region:
For the first time in five years Germany is back in recession. Economic output has been on the decline since the second quarter of 2008. The financial markets crisis and the global economic downturn will weigh heavily on growth in 2009. Gross domestic product will continue to contract in real terms at least until the middle of this year. The loss of major sales markets and the surge in the euro – even though it has retraced slightly – will likely cause exports to decline markedly in real terms for the first time since 1993. Shrinking foreign demand together with declining profits in many sectors will lead to investment in plant and equipment contracting by 10%. Despite fiscal stimulus packages private consumption is scarcely likely to increase by more than a tad again in 2009 in the face of significantly falling employment and a rising savings ratio. [more]
90
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