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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.

30 (13-24)
July 31, 2015
Region:
13
German model – has a consensus economy reached its limit? German output growth poised to outstrip potential again in current year. Despite new government spending programmes there should be continued budget surpluses for the time being. Given the strengths of its institutional framework Germany has so far largely been able to avoid the possibility of distributional conflicts feeding through in the shape of higher government deficits and/or rising inflation. Demographic developments, not least, will probably put this resilience to the test. However, a new reform thrust is needed in view of decreasing locational advantages. It remains to be seen whether society will carry through with an update of the Agenda 2010 reforms. [more]
June 29, 2015
Region:
14
While the core inflation rate has remained relatively stable since 2011 at an average of slightly above 1% yoy the oil price slump is the main reason for the temporary decline in consumer prices at the start of 2015. However, the oil price rise of some 30% since January and the stabilisation of the EUR exchange rate sent the German inflation rate out of negative territory after just one month and then made it accelerate to 0.7% yoy recently. We therefore expect slightly stronger increases in consumer prices of 0.5% this year and 2.0% in 2016. With our forecast the risks are more pronounced to the downside. The oil price might rise more slowly than expected on account of the global oversupply. In addition, the EUR/USD has now stabilised at above 1.10 after hitting its low in mid-April. Our forecast assumes EUR/USD parity by year-end. [more]
June 1, 2015
Region:
15
The Q1 GDP details provide some comfort relative to the disappointing 0.3% qoq headline number. Final domestic demand was up 0.8% qoq while net-exports as well as inventories both provided a drag. Thus, our 2015 story of GDP growth driven by strong domestic demand remains intact. Despite this, we lower our 2015 GDP forecast from 2.0% to 1.6%. This is primarily due to the weaker-than-expected Q1 GDP growth that provides a lower starting base for 2015. However, we still expect quarterly growth rates to average a healthy 0.4% qoq in 2015. Further topics in this issue: Construction investment: Sharp increase expected, but focus on downside risks, The view from Berlin. German politics: Quarrel among friends and families. [more]
March 30, 2015
Region:
16
The combination of the structural global trade slowdown, increased localization of production, demographic changes in Germany, the impact of recent economic policy decisions and further toughening of international competition are likely to be a considerable challenge for German exporters over the medium term. Thus, the domestic economy will play a bigger role again. Government policies can help ease the transition. German exporters could become even more globally active firms over the medium term. The specific reactions will vary by sector, though. The earnings generated by these firms around the globe are likely to be a blessing for an aging and more domestically driven economy in the decades ahead. [more]
March 2, 2015
Region:
17
The Q4 GDP details corroborate that the German economy ended 2014 on a high note (+0.7% qoq vs +0.1% in Q3) as private consumption received a substantial stimulus from the drop of the oil prices. We increase our 2015 GDP forecast to 2.0% from 1.4% previously. This is especially due to the much larger carry-over effect courtesy of the marked Q4 GDP growth. In addition, we raise our Q1 GDP forecast to 0.5% qoq as the renewed oil price drop will boost consumption again. Sentiment also improved further in January/February with ifo expectations and the composite PMI pointing to 0.5% and 0.4% growth, respectively. [more]
February 2, 2015
Region:
18
Late last year we raised our GDP forecast for Germany from 0.8% to 1.0% on account of the steep downside correction on expectations for oil prices. We now expect German GDP growth to hit 1.4% in 2015. Reasons: Growth slightly exceeded expectations in Q4 2014; the oil price forecast for 2015 has been lowered again; and the euro has fallen more sharply against the US dollar than anticipated. Given this good outlook for the economy Germany's public budgets are likely to show a slight surplus again in 2015. Moreover, the current account surplus is set to jump to 8% of GDP. This suggests there will be further calls for Germany to use its fiscal room for manoeuvre to pursue a public investment programme. Also, international criticism of German economic policy is likely to grow louder. Further topics in this issue: German industrial output forecast upped to 1.5%, 10 "golden" rules for ifo, PMI and Co., The view from Berlin. [more]
December 2, 2014
Region:
19
Underlying growth of the German economy has slowed in Q3. After average quarterly growth rates of over 0.3% qoq in the last 1 ½ years, GDP expanded just 0.1% in Q3. We expect about stagnation in the next two quarters with a risk of a negative print as sentiment has weakened further in October/November. The little momentum of global trade since 2012 points towards structural changes, which will affect German exports in particular. German export growth should therefore remain relatively muted during the next few years. We forecast average real German export growth at the lower end of a range of 4%-6% between 2014 and 2019, which should be buttressed by a depreciation of the euro. [more]
November 5, 2014
Region:
20
We have cut our German GDP growth forecast from 1.5% to 1.3% for 2014 and further from 1.5% to 0.8% for 2015. We do not see Germany falling into a technical recession in Q3. But the 6 month slump of the ifo index has increased the risk that we might see a negative GDP print in Q4 2014 or Q1 2015. The positive effect of weaker oil prices will be offset by wage growth slowing from 3% plus this year towards 2% in 2015, as export-orientated sectors will respond to weaker external demand. Further topics in this issue: German industry: Temporary slowdown; German construction: Robust investment, but price momentum slowing; Inheritance tax: Constitutional Court ruling likely to weigh harder on business heirs; 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: "Blooming landscapes" only in part. [more]
September 30, 2014
Region:
21
The recent positive surprises provided by real economic indicators have for now banished concerns that Germany might slide into recession in Q3. However, the ongoing geopolitical risks and the question marks hanging over the expected cyclical upturn will probably lead to weaker growth in exports and company investment. That is why we have scaled back our growth forecast for the winter half-year 2014/2015. Thus, we have lowered our forecast from 1.8% to 1.5%. In our current issue we also address Germany’s fiscal position, we analyse the consequences of potential Russian gas supply disruptions and we take a look at the investment behaviour of German households. [more]
August 4, 2014
Region:
22
Economic growth probably suffered a worse setback in Q2 than initially presumed. We only expect stagnation now, but would no longer rule out a minimal decline. All in all, global economic conditions do not point to dynamic growth in H2. In particular, the tougher sanctions on Russia and the risk of further escalation of the conflict are set to weigh on business sentiment and investment activity in spite of Russia's low share in German exports. The debate triggered by ECB and Bundesbank comments about higher wage increases in Germany is likely to have a similar impact, even though the substance of the statements is less spectacular, on closer inspection, than the media hype. As uncertainties abound we have decided to refrain for now from making a downward revision to our full-year forecast of 1.8% GDP growth. [more]
June 4, 2014
Region:
23
With the dream start into 2014 we have lifted our GDP forecast to 1.8% (from 1.5%). For 2015 we maintain our 2% call, as we expect that the only temporary increase in the sum of gross wages resulting from the introduction of the minimum wage will be offset by more cautious investment spending. [more]
February 28, 2014
Region:
24
The details of the 0.4% qoq GDP increase released this week have not altered our GDP forecast of 1.5% for 2014. If anything, they have added to our suspicion that current surveys (corporate and consumer) might paint a too rosy picture. However, we have turned somewhat more optimistic with regard to 2015, increasing our GDP forecast from 1.4% to 2.0%. [more]
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