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Focus Germany

Focus Germany deals with macroeconomic and economic policy issues in Germany. Each issue also contains a timetable of financial and economic policy events as well as a detailed data monitor of German economic indicators.

139 Documents
February 12, 2024
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In early February, the German parliament approved the 2024 budget, ending a prolonged period of uncertainty and provisional budget management. But, torn between the intensifying consolidation requirements under the debt brake and the need to solve the economy's cyclical and structural challenges, the coalition government has already started to debate the upcoming 2025 budget. This fiscal policy debate appears unlikely to be settled anytime soon. In this note we discuss three possible scenarios for how the budget 2025 process might play out. [more]
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February 8, 2024
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The German government this week agreed on the main features of a new power plant strategy. It is intended to address the problem that there will continue to be phases in the future when weather-dependent renewable energies are unable to cover the entire demand for electricity. Back-up power plants with base load capability are currently a necessary building block of an energy strategy based on renewables. German government has decided to bank on hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants. The government aims to establish a new capacity mechanism by 2028 whereby power plant operators are remunerated for providing secured capacity via tenders. In a first step, 10 gigawatts (GW) of capacity are to be put out to tender in the short term (4 x 2.5 GW). This corresponds to around 20 power plant units. Pending further details, we believe that these plans for a capacity market are a positive development. In our view, it promises greater investment and thus energy security than the alternative of relying on market incentives, i.e., electricity prices remaining temporarily high enough in future to be able to operate such power plants profitably even at low capacity utilisation. One of the major challenges of the future is to obtain sufficient (green) hydrogen for the operation of power plants and industrial processes. [more]
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January 3, 2024
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There was light and shade in the expansion of renewable energies in Germany in 2023. Installed generation capacity in the photovoltaic sector increased more than ever before in 2023. It will be ambitious to reach that momentum again in 2024. Regarding onshore wind power, net additions in 2023 exceeded the figures from previous years. However, the record from 2017 was missed by a wide margin. Given the high number of new permissions, installed capacity for onshore wind power should grow faster in 2024. For offshore wind power, however, the year 2023 was disappointing. [more]
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December 8, 2023
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The external environment as well as monetary and fiscal policy should provide strong headwinds. Sentiment will likely be dragged lower by the increasingly evident structural problems. We anticipate a modest recession during the winter half to be followed by a gradual recovery from spring onwards. We expect the government to survive the internal quarrels with respect to the 2024 budget, following the constitutional court ruling. Debt brake reform is unlikely in the short run. A cross-party consensus for a Transformation Fund 2.0 might emerge before September regional elections. [more]
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December 1, 2023
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The AI boom has had important implications for the semiconductor market. In particular the logic chips are in high demand. In 2023 surging demand was constrained by shrinking supply. This resulted in a substantial fall in units sold whereas prices surged. Here we analyze the underlying economic and technological drivers and forecast the development of global sales of the semiconductor market until the end of 2025. [more]
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October 20, 2023
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Current advances in AI and a media-savvy generation - in combination with the Internet of Things, edge computing and 5G - provide the opportunity to rethink smart city models such as City 5.0 and soft city. We discuss some use cases – and the trade-offs to be resolved – that arise from connecting and automating a city. Besides digital platforms – now augmented by AI –, smart city market segments such as smart buildings, digital energy and environmental solutions are expected to grow strongly in the coming years. Since not all of these are likely to be publicly funded, interesting investment opportunities do arise to create more efficient, sustainable, and livable urban spaces. [more]
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October 13, 2023
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A double-dip recession. Hard and soft data point to a GDP contraction of about 0.3% in Q3. Despite receding inflation,we expect that private consumption will only gradually come out of its rut, as consumer confidence has remained depressed. While the overall decline in GDP over the double-dip recession (Q4 22/Q1 23 and Q3 23) will probably be less than 1 percentage point, a renewed fall in GDP provides another blow to already downbeat German confidence. This negative feedback loop will likely weigh on the economy in 2024. In particular, structural supply bottlenecks look set to hamper growth opportunities and the energy transition is likely to slow potential growth in Germany towards 0.5% and keep the inflation rate above 2%. [more]
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October 5, 2023
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In this report, we provide an update on key developments in German politics:
#1 How to tackle the growth malaise - tax reform and cutting red tape as first steps. Despite dwindling poll numbers and weak growth prospects, the government’s appetite for sweeping structural reforms appears limited. We take a look at the government’s “10 point action plan”, the proposed corporate tax reform, and renewed efforts to cut red tape.
#2 Rise of the far-right. Sticky inflation, change-fatigue and rising immigration have contributed to rising approval rates of the far-right AfD, reaching an all-time high at 21.5% in opinion polls in recent weeks. We analyze what that means for coalition building in the upcoming regional elections (both this weekend and next year) and how this might influence the overall policy debate at the federal level.
#3 Polls suggest conservatives set to win regional elections in Bavaria and Hesse on October 8. We give an update on how Sunday’s regional elections in two of Germany’s most populous states might impact national policy-making and the likelihood of agreeing on a new set of EU fiscal rules by year-end. [more]
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September 18, 2023
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Megatrends such as decarbonisation, digitalisation and demographics, as well as signs of deglobalisation, could cause structural supply bottlenecks in the 2020s. In this report, we look at commodities such as copper, cobalt, nickel or lithium, for which global demand is likely to rise faster than supply, not least due to the energy transition. The availability of labour is also increasingly becoming a scarcity factor. Due to supply bottlenecks, potential growth in Germany could be closer to the 0.5% than the 1% mark in the future. [more]
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July 25, 2023
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Germany’s growth is under pressure from renewed cyclical and structural headwinds. In this edition of Focus Germany we introduce our new Nowcast Model for German GDP, predicting that the German economy should have expanded in Q2, but that risks for activity in H2 are increasing. We take the summer break in Berlin as an opportunity for a midterm review of the traffic-light coalition’s work. In a historic flashback we revisit the challenges Germany was facing when the Economist called it the sick man of the euro and which policy measures transformed the country into an Economic superstar a decade later. We find interesting parallels to today’s situation. [more]
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