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Only a technical recession? It is all about risks!

August 19, 2019
Region:
We see Germany in a technical recession, as we expect another ¼% GDP drop in Q3. Our forecast for 2019 is now 0.3%. Given no indication for a rebound we lowered our 2020 forecast to 0.7%. We acknowledge these revisions do not properly account for the recent accumulation of risks. Given the increasingly fragile state of the global economy, the realization of one or more risks could easily push the economy into a completely different scenario, where growth revisions of a few tenths of a percentage point will not be sufficient. (Also in this issue: German automotive industry, chemical industry, house prices, corporate lending, the view from Berlin, digital politics.) [more]

More documents from Jan Schildbach

62 Documents
September 23, 2019
Region:
1
Improved performance in the second quarter has given European banks hope that 2019 may still end on a more conciliatory note and that longer-term prospects are not quite as gloomy as some fear. In H1, net interest income rose year-over-year, despite unrelenting margin pressure. Other revenue components were mixed, with fee and commission income disappointing again. Loans and total assets in general increased. Banks cut expenses further, while loan loss provisions picked up from record lows. In the end, profitability and capital levels remained largely stable. Once more, the transatlantic gulf in performance widened slightly, as US banks reported another rise in net income to a new all-time high. [more]
May 23, 2019
Region:
2
Shrinkage – and no end in sight: in the first quarter of the year, the European banks once more saw revenues and costs alike decline compared to 12 months ago (-2% each). Non-interest income was particularly weak. As a result, profitability dipped, with loan loss provisions also rising, albeit from very low levels. Banks tried to make up for the revenue loss by taking more risk and expanding their balance sheets. Total assets and risk-weighted assets both increased by 4%. Consequently, the average CET1 capital ratio fell 0.4 pp yet remained in comfortable territory. [more]
March 4, 2019
Region:
3
The recession in German industry can be traced to the massive slowdown of global trade in 2018. Will the German service sector withstand the recession in industry, as some recent survey data seems to suggest? We doubt it. In previous downswings in the manufacturing sector services were pulled lower, too. Indeed, the two sectors' output trends during 2018 did already follow this pattern. (Also in this issue: Economic Minister Altmaier's National Industrial Strategy 2030, the German Federal Budget, lower total and rental inflation thanks to new basket, corporate lending in Germany, the view from Berlin) [more]
February 28, 2019
Region:
4
In 2018, net income at the major European banks climbed to its highest level since the financial crisis. Lower administrative expenses and a further fall in loan loss provisions to multi-year lows more than made up for a decline in revenues. Whereas net interest income stabilised, fee and commission income as well as trading income declined. Banks took a bit more risk, and risk-weighted assets edged up. Total capital remained flat despite higher profits as banks increased returns to shareholders and implemented the new IFRS 9 accounting standard. Consequently, capital ratios declined for the first time since 2008. The gap between European banks and their US peers remained huge as the latter benefited from higher interest rates and lower corporate taxes. [more]
January 15, 2019
Region:
5
Banks in Europe face a more difficult business environment in 2019 than last year. While the macro environment is still decent, momentum is cooling markedly. In addition, prominent political risks loom dangerously. On the operating side, banks are treading water. Their limited cost savings are being fully absorbed by declining revenues, and balance sheets continue to shrink despite a moderate pickup in lending. Profitability and capital levels are both stagnating. Only in a benign economic and political scenario will banks be able to return to growth this year. [more]
October 23, 2018
Region:
6
The European banking industry remains in restructuring mode. Most institutions are focused on increasing profitability and returns to shareholders. In contrast to previous periods of rising net income, the key this time is exiting less attractive parts of their business rather than expanding across the board. Hence, most P&L and balance sheet components have declined year-over-year, with one major exception: profits. Capital levels have suffered from new, more conservative accounting rules on loan loss provisions. [more]
July 2, 2018
Region:
8
The UK’s exit from the EU will have significant repercussions for the financial industry, notably investment banking. London as the primary European hub is likely to lose its full access to the single market. Currently, financial services exports play a major role for Britain and almost half of them go to the EU. Without the surplus it generates from providing investment banking services to EU customers, Britain’s current account deficit would be 40% higher. Following Brexit and the likely loss of the single European passport, non-EU banks will have to set up or build-out subsidiaries in the EU-27 with own capital, liquidity, corporate governance and fully-fledged operations. This could lead to an additional EUR 35-45 bn of capital being ‘ring-fenced’. This represents a further leg of banking balkanisation with trapped capital, liquidity and resources – profitability will be under pressure and not all EU business models will be viable. [more]
June 11, 2018
Region:
9
In April industrial production remained sluggish and new orders heavily declined, Q2 M&E investment growth could be restrained. No positive impulses are expected from net exports as long as international trade tensions continue. For these reasons, we have recently adjusted our annual GDP growth forecast from 2.3% to 2%. Impulses for Q2 growth should mainly come from the construction sector and consumption. Thanks to high wage settlements, private consumption should be again a key growth driver and the expansion of 17 consecutive quarters in a row is likely to continue. (Also included in this issue: lacklustre new construction, lending in Germany, the view from Berlin) [more]
March 19, 2018
Region:
11
The major European banks have seen their revenues stabilise in 2017, and through further cost-cutting and improvements in asset quality, their profitability rebounded strongly to the second-best figure in the past decade. However, banks continued to shrink, and both total assets and risk-weighted assets fell substantially. This helped capital and leverage ratios to reach new record highs, finally laying questions about the sector’s capitalisation levels to rest, at least on aggregate. Large European banks lost ground versus smaller competitors and also remained far behind their US peers, although they were able to catch up somewhat on this front. [more]
December 15, 2017
Region:
12
The Basel Committee’s recent agreement on final capital rules for global banks is set to have only limited effect on overall capital requirements, but will impact EU banks more strongly than their peers. In recent quarters, European banks have already strengthened their capital ratios substantially and have become more profitable, thanks to moderately better revenues, lower costs and lower loan losses. Balance sheet size and risk-weighted assets have declined, underscoring the continuing lack of growth momentum in the industry. This might change somewhat next year, as European banks could benefit from the strong performance of the economy via a pickup in lending, which so far has remained sluggish. Further tailwinds from declining loss provisions and falling expense levels are less likely though. [more]
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