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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".

112 (91-100)
January 25, 2013
In this study, we analyse some of the political and economic consequences of the Arab Spring and assess opportunities and challenges for the affected countries. Political instability has taken a toll on the region’s economies. There has been a sharp slowdown in economic activity, deteriorating external and fiscal accounts and decreasing FX reserves. The long-term challenges for the region remain as pressing as ever: high unemployment (especially among the youth), inefficient subsidy regimes and low trade diversification, among others. Expectations for rapid improvement after the Arab Spring will be disappointed, but there is a chance that less oppressive governments will be more responsive to their peoples’ demands and thus at least attempt to tackle those problems. [more]
91
January 16, 2013
Region:
Analyst:
Electrical equipment in the health sector is an important factor for macroeconomic development worldwide. Modern electromedicine boosts the efficiency of healthcare processes, improves the health of the general population, reduces the time spent by patients in hospital and cuts the cost of care. High-quality products should enable the German electromedicine sector to maintain its world market-leading position – despite growing price competition. Accordingly, we expect real sales growth of 5% yoy in both 2012 and 2013. [more]
92
January 16, 2013
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA) provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code comprise an important broadening of the international reach of the U.S. tax system. This law is aimed at countering tax evasion by U.S. citizens and residents who receive earnings from assets held offshore. Currently a growing number of Intergovernmental Agreements between the United States and partner countries are being negotiated to overcome the conflict of laws issues raised by the application of FATCA as well as to simplify implementation and reduce compliance costs. [more]
93
January 7, 2013
Region:
We are going through a period of structural change – including when it comes to knowledge as a resource. The emerging knowledge economy is gaining ground around the globe. Read on to discover how much (more) knowledge is being produced, what trends are evident in relation to investment in knowledge, how money is made from knowledge, what are the products of the knowledge economy, and who are the main players in this knowledge revolution and knowledge economy. You will also find out what opportunities the emerging knowledge economy offers for companies and regions. [more]
94
January 4, 2013
Region:
National elections will be held in Germany in the autumn of 2013. The election campaign will be shaped, above all, by personality issues, second by the stance towards the euro crisis, and third by some modest domestic social policy issues. Steinbrück receives good ratings for tax issues and leads over Merkel on social issues but Chancellor Merkel benefits from a solid economy and her stance on euro politics, reflected in her high popularity. Steinbrück and the Greens are outspoken on stricter banking regulation and a separation of investment banking from commercial banking. Merkel and her coalition have kept a low profile on this issue so far but the banks will remain under scrutiny. [more]
95
December 20, 2012
Region:
The rise of mobile and online payments opens up new opportunities, but of course also presents new risks for financial services providers. A lot of attention is currently paid to the (walled garden) strategies of new competitors such as Google, Apple or PayPal. They are increasingly putting out their feelers in segments outside of their own territory, e.g. the market for (mobile) payments. Those financial services providers who do not modernise their upstream and downstream value chains or subject them to the transformation process required for the digital network architecture could suffer painful losses over the medium term. Our paper draws four scenarios on how the market share of banks might develop in about three to five years’ time, with a particular focus on the European market. [more]
96
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]
98
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]
99
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]
100
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