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Talking Point

In Talking Point we present our take on current affairs and developments in the worlds of business, financial markets and politics.

152 (81-90)
May 27, 2016
Following a strong increase in manufacturing output in Q1 2016, we have raised our forecast for the entire year 2016 to 1% (previously, a marginal increase). Hardly anything has changed in our forecast of generally moderate performance in the manufacturing sector for 2016 as a whole. However, the strong start to the year requires upward adjustments to our forecasts, also at sector level. These are particularly noticeable in the automotive and plastics industries as well as among producers of building materials. [more]
May 2, 2016
In September 2015, the European Commission set out its action plan to establish a Capital Markets Union in order to push for stronger and more integrated capital markets in the EU to better complement bank finance. Creating deeper and more liquid stock markets is crucial in this respect, and also a precondition for European financial centres to regain their position in a global context. Indeed, the total number of stock exchanges operating independently in the EU is astonishingly high, especially in eastern and south-eastern European countries. In addition, market capitalisation is highly concentrated in only a handful of exchanges, and in smaller markets also tends to be lower relative to economic size. [more]
April 13, 2016
A number of factors, including the decline in commodity prices, sizeable corporate foreign-currency debt, a strengthening dollar and the prospect of higher US interest rates, are weighing on the economic and financial outlook in the emerging markets (EM). The relative lack of reform combined with a weakening of some of the structural factors that underpin growth has raised concern about the medium-term outlook in many, but not all EM. [more]
April 7, 2016
Last year, the proportion of diesel cars among new car registrations in the EU-15 dropped by 1.5 percentage points to just over 52%. This was the fourth decline in a row. The fall in the diesel share was especially pronounced in France, where the government wants to reduce the tax advantage for diesel over petrol. By contrast, in Germany the diesel share increased slightly last year, due among other things to the large number of commercial car registrations. We expect a further decline in the diesel share in the European car market over the next few years. The higher costs for diesel technology play a role here. However, for high-mileage drivers in particular, the lower consumption and long range of diesel cars as well as lower fuel prices remain convincing sales arguments. Therefore, provided governments do not introduce any serious surcharges for diesel cars, the diesel share of the European car market is unlikely to crash. [more]
March 23, 2016
No? Then it may be worth taking a look at this digital technology and its potential areas of application. Alongside unsupervised learning algorithms and early cognitive systems, blockchain is an example of a digital technology that not only calls tried-and-tested business models into question, but is already turning them on their head. It may have its origins in the financial sector, but a universal spectrum of applications is beginning to open up both within and outside the fintech world. Those who have tried experimenting with digital technologies have quickly found that in many cases they make existing business models, processes and infrastructures noticeably more efficient and thus increase productivity. This has certainly been the case with blockchain, which is why it is a good idea for many decision makers (not only) in the financial sector to keep a close eye on developments and, above all, the various experiments with blockchain that are currently ongoing. Ideally they would experiment with various projects and pilot studies themselves in order to come up with their own ideas and try putting these into practice. [more]
March 22, 2016
In 2015, exports of German goods to the oil states declined by 7.4%. This was the third fall in a row. Growing exports to the United Arab Emirates (primarily aircraft) and Saudi Arabia prevented an even worse result. As oil prices will initially remain low, German exports to the oil-producing countries are expected to fall again in 2016. Our export indicator points to a decline of approximately 5%. Among the major German industrial sectors, mechanical engineering is likely to be hardest hit by falling demand from the oil states, as was the case in 2015. Overall, the significance of the oil producers as a market for German industry will continue to decline in 2016. [more]
March 17, 2016
Despite headwinds from slow economic growth, low interest rates and tighter regulation, European banks’ recovery continues. In 2015, banks’ core business with the private sector returned to growth, revenues rose and provisions for loan losses declined again. The sector has become more profitable and resilient. Challenges remain aplenty, but European banks are definitely heading in the right direction. [more]
February 22, 2016
Manufacturing output in Germany increased by 1.1% in real terms in 2015. Just over half of this growth resulted from 2015 having more working days than 2014. Among the main industrial sectors, pharmaceuticals (+4.3%) and automotives (+2.6%) recorded the highest growth rates. By contrast, the mechanical engineering and chemical industries suffered declines in production of 1.1% and 0.4% respectively. Mixed signals are currently shaping the outlook for 2016. For example, the slowdown in growth in major sales markets is being offset by a relatively high capacity utilisation rate in industry at the start of the year, as well as a positive trend in core orders. On the whole, we confirm our forecast that manufacturing output in Germany is not likely to do more than stagnate in 2016. Nevertheless, in light of global economic and geopolitical risks, as well as turmoil in the financial and commodities markets, a certain disturbing feeling remains to the effect that manufacturing output in Germany could also be worse than projected this year. [more]
February 5, 2016
The demand for electric cars in Germany remains low. Their share of total new car registrations was less than 1% in 2015. The clamour is increasing among policymakers in favour of stimulating demand with the aid of cash incentives. The argument is that if such incentives were high enough the market share of electric cars would indeed increase faster than has been the case to date. Nevertheless, there is a host of economic, regulatory and social policy reasons that argue against cash incentives. We continue to favour an integration of road traffic into the EU Emissions Trading System in order to limit the sector's CO<sub>2</sub> emissions [more]
February 4, 2016
In 2014, for the first time, the number of cashless payments in the euro area did not grow – according to ECB figures. The transaction volume remained flat at 68 bn payments. However, this is due to an overhaul of the statistical methodology which caused breaks in many of the series. Corrected for this, there was actually a strong development of the market: cashless payments grew by about 7% yoy or almost 5 bn transactions. This growth rate is even at the upper end of growth in recent years. [more]