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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".

12 Documents
November 21, 2019
As German policymakers plan to do without nuclear power, coal and lignite in the future, natural gas remains the last traditional source for power generation. And since Germany targets complete climate neutrality by 2050, natural gas will also be a transitional source of energy – nothing more and nothing less. The completion and operation of Nord Stream II is clearly in line with the declared goals of German energy policy. Nord Stream II will improve supply security and pipeline gas, such as that delivered by Nord Stream II, is more environmentally friendly than LNG. [more]
November 8, 2018
With digitalisation becoming an ever more common feature along the value chain, the German industry looks set to enjoy higher potential growth in the coming years. The additional gross value added in German manufacturing might total EUR 70–140 bn for the years between 2018 and 2025. As a rule, the industrial sector is in a better position than numerous (personal) services sectors to benefit from the favourable impact of digitalisation. Traditional capital goods producers, such as the auto industry or mechanical and electrical engineering, are likely to see their gross value creation benefit more strongly from digitalisation than the metals or chemicals sector. [more]
September 12, 2017
German industrial policy has been cautious over the past few decades, especially in comparison with several other European countries. And this approach has been successful. The German government should continue to refrain from active industrial policy. Nevertheless, we believe that greater state engagement or a realignment of existing policy is vital in some areas. One area where we see a need for action is network infrastructure. When it comes to the shift in German energy policy, it would be sensible to focus more strongly on what is genuinely achievable. [more]
December 3, 2015
Industrial output in Germany is likely to expand by around 0.5% in real terms in 2015. For 2016, we expect growth close to zero. This means the sustained phase of relatively muted economic dynamics of industrial output seen since 2012 would continue. The rather stable development of producer prices in recent months also provides evidence that would indicate subdued industrial activity. Our forecast for industrial output implies that manufacturing’s share in total German gross value added will shrink for 2015 and 2016. [more]
August 13, 2015
In March 2015, the 28 European Heads of State and Government committed themselves to creating an Energy Union. In principle, the commitment to even stronger cooperation on energy and climate issues is a step forward, even though the decisive impetus came from grave concerns about potential gas supply disruptions as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The current discussion also indicates that the Energy Union should initially focus on the further improvement of natural gas supply in Eastern Europe. The further development of infrastructures and markets for grid-based energies are likely to become target areas as well. By contrast, contentious topics such as the nuclear phase-out in Germany and country-specific subsidy programmes for renewable energies are unlikely to be a target area yet. We thus expect an incremental policy of small steps, i.e. by no means a rapid and radical transformation of the European energy sector as a whole. [more]
May 27, 2015
The period up to 2025 offers the German steel industry good prospects for a stable and economically sound future. However, this requires policymakers to take a reasonable approach to the further development of the regulatory framework for steel producers and their customer industries in Germany just as it requires only a modest level of expansion in steel capacity at global level. There are also other conceivable scenarios with greater risks, challenges and consequences for the German steel industry and its employees – and these alternatives are in no way completely improbable. [more]
November 13, 2014
German engineering firms must prepare to confront several trends over the medium term. The first of these is that a new, bipolar world of engineering markets is emerging. The United States and (once again) China are set to become especially promising centres of growth going forward. Further future trends are, secondly, the gradual shift in product focus towards customised system solutions; thirdly, the growing importance of not purely price-related competitive factors; and fourthly, the reconfiguration of the global division of labour in the engineering sector as the classic distinction between producer countries focusing on standard machinery and others focusing on speciality equipment becomes increasingly untenable. Provided that traditional suppliers to the manufacturing sector manage to spot the new mega-trends in good time, they will be able to build on these to develop promising strategies that enable them to adapt, survive and – ultimately – grow. [more]
October 30, 2014
Following weak performance in winter half-year 2014/15 industrial production in Germany is likely to return to a moderate uptrend in the course of 2015, resulting in expansion of roughly 1.5% in real terms in 2014 and about ¾% in 2015. This means the generally muted dynamics of industrial performance in evidence since 2011 would continue in 2015. Industry's share in total German gross value added (2013: 21.8%) will probably decline again, as in 2012 and 2013. The only moderate growth of industry is primarily attributable to the currently subdued level of business activity and external shocks. Nonetheless, structural factors are going to regain importance. The ball is now in the politicians' court. Many of their recently adopted measures give rise to fears that Germany's international competitiveness as an industrial location is likely to decline. [more]
June 26, 2014
Due to numerous political incentives, especially relating to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the renewables share has increased sixfold since 1997 with regard to both primary energy consumption and electricity generation. Germany's first energy policy rethink (or Energiewende 1.0) not only sent costs ballooning but also impacted on electricity prices, the generation mix and emissions trading. And despite the EEG the contribution of wind/solar to primary energy consumption (PEC) was a mere 2%-plus in 2013. Overall, the “green electricity share” could reach roughly 60% by 2035. But how will the remaining 40% be generated – in view of the Energiewende 2.0? Depending on the scenario, the onus is more on natural gas or coal. [more]
March 11, 2014
The massive expansion of renewables in the last few years has led to an increase in the volatility of the power supply. As the implementation of the "Energiewende" is one of the crucial issues for the new federal government, this also requires innovative solutions that go beyond traditional technical storage facilities in our view. Looking ahead, the energy revolution may hardly succeed without power-to-gas as power-to-gas as a storage medium could offset the continuing strong increases in the volatilities in power supply. The prospects for power-to-gas are favourable. Experts claim the installation of power-to-gas systems with an electricity generation of 1,000 MW by 2022 to establish an initial market. If in the time thereafter – as we expect – the demand for electricity storage media continues to rise as a result of increasing green electricity quantities and fluctuations, power-to-gas is an appropriate answer to the currently still open question as to a sustainable technical solution. [more]
November 15, 2013
German industry is showing first signs of recovery. In view of the large statistical underhang of 1.6% from the year 2012, we expect, however, that industrial production will only stagnate in the current year. In 2014, industrial activity will continue to increase (+4%). The upswing is associated with stronger growth in important foreign markets of German industrial companies, especially in the US and – to a lower extent – in China. The EMU countries will also register positive GDP growth again, so exports will give a boost to the economy. This supports e.g. the automotive industry, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. [more]
July 16, 2013
The traditional, global power plant order is in a state of flux for a myriad of reasons. There is no doubt that in the days following Fukushima it was premature to predict a rapid end to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Over the next 20 years the newly erupted gas vs. coal contest in the electricity market will not produce a single “global winner”. Whereas in the US gas continues to assert its dominance, in Asia coal remains the no. 1 source of energy. The power generation landscape is becoming more colourful: while Germany is banking on renewables, France is sticking with nuclear power generation and other nations retain their preference for coal. The continuing increase in the thirst for electricity over the next 20 years provides sufficient scope for the coexistence of the most diverse power generation alternatives. [more]