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COVID-19: The Germans are starting to get restless (again)

October 8, 2020
Region:
After the summer break new cases have picked up strongly in most of Germany’s neighboring countries. In many cases (France, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic), numbers are (by far) exceeding the peaks reported in spring or are back at these levels (Belgium, Austria). Various governments have introduced new measures, such as Paris shutting down parts of the hospitality and leisure sector, and Spain ordering a partial lockdown in Madrid, albeit not as encompassing as in April. In other countries, social distancing and mask-wearing rules have been tightened or are being discussed. [more]

More documents from Stefan Schneider

111 (61-72)
May 5, 2017
61
Growth in global trade almost stagnated at just 1.3% in 2016, and in some months was even negative. During winter, global trade picked up again, rising by around 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. Given the positive sentiment prevailing across the globe, this rebound could well continue. However, this trend is not yet being fully reflected in other hard economic indicators, usually highly correlated with global trade, and sentiment may therefore overstate the actual trend a little. Still, our simple model of world trade, which suggests moderate growth of just over 2% in 2017 and around 3% in 2018 might represent the lower limit of the forecast range. However, compared to previous cycles the upturn could remain weak, not least because of the global trade restrictions that have been progressively ratcheted up since 2008. [more]
April 6, 2017
Region:
62
In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
March 9, 2017
Region:
63
At face value the pick-up of GDP growth at the end of 2016 (Q4: +0.4% qoq vs. +0.1% prev.) seems to fit with improving sentiment. However, given its composition we would argue that underlying growth was weaker than the headline suggests. We stick to our below consensus GDP forecast for 2017 (1.1%) and only make cosmetic changes in the details. We are raising our inflation forecast slightly overall for 2017, from 1.6% to 1.7%, compared with only 0.5% in 2016. We still expect core inflation to be only slightly above 1% in 2017. If the signs of global price increases are confirmed, then we could in fact see a more pronounced increase in core inflation, particularly if rising prices translate into second-round effects when wage negotiations are conducted in 2018. (Further articles: German industry, German election campaign) [more]
December 21, 2016
Region:
64
German GDP growth is expected to slow somewhat in 2017 following considerable momentum over the last two years. We note the growth rate will almost half, to 1.1%, in 2017, but around half of this is due to a smaller number of working days. While the economy will likely have to do without a number of special factors that provided a boost to domestic demand in 2016, we believe that the underlying robust domestic economic growth path remains intact. Weak global trade and political uncertainty will dampen exports and investments. The ECB has in all but words indicated that tapering will begin in 2017. European interest rates are likely to remain at very low levels in 2017, at least at the short end. [more]
December 15, 2016
Region:
65
Germany remains an anchor of steadiness with an undisputed role as leader in Europe and is the only country that comes close to being on a par with America. This story of success is based on many structural factors, some of which complement and mutually reinforce each other. We group them as follows: (1) Macropolicies focused on stability and growth (2) Institutions grounded in German ‘ordoliberalism’ (3) Global companies with unique structures (4) An equitable system of social security and cooperative social partners (5) A long-term perspective by companies and citizens with the willingness to forgo immediate reward – in our view the most important factor in the success. The combination of innovative, multinational companies, functioning institutions and highly skilled workers will, in our view, maintain Germany’s competitiveness and prosperity into the future. German politicians are therefore confronted with the increasing challenge of holding the eurozone together. However, if anti-euro movements gain the upper hand in key partner countries, thereby increasing the disruptive risks, there may be a reassessment in Germany of the euro’s costs and benefits. [more]
October 28, 2016
Region:
67
German wage growth slowed in H1 2016 and there is a range of factors that are likely to also put a lid on the pick-up in 2017. The impact of labour shortage is limited by material mismatch between the qualifications of the unemployed and those sought by employers as well as substantial immigration flows. High real wage gains have pushed up unit labour costs and weighed on corporate profitability, which is further undermined by low productivity growth. Cautious wage agreements in 2016 on average stipulate only 2% wage increases in 2017. Despite a 4% increase in the statutory minimum wage, aggregate wages should increase by only around 2 ½%. According to our forecasts, next year could see the growth rate for industrial production in Germany drop to 0.5% in real terms. Regarding output in Germany’s large industrial sectors we do not expect major outliers. Also in this issue: “The View from Berlin. All lights on the debates about personalities and tactical gambits.” [more]
August 22, 2016
Region:
68
The debate about whether a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) helps or hinders the transmission mechanism of monetary policy continues to rage. The BIS and many others – including us* – long ago issued warnings about throwing open the monetary floodgates and the side effects of negative central-bank interest rates, and now Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has also clearly rejected negative interest rates, despite using all the means at his disposal to prevent the UK economy from sliding into recession after the Brexit shock. The package of measures he launched in August significantly exceeded market expectations, but Carney has ruled out negative interest rates, referring to the adverse impact on the capital markets. [more]
July 27, 2016
Region:
69
There is a high level of excess demand in the housing market and it has grown in recent years. Demand for credit is also growing at a correspondingly rapid pace. The supply of credit could be boosted by further monetary stimulus. In the medium term, more buoyant lending is likely to increase interest rate risk. However, if lending growth remains low, there will be increased risk of overvaluations and a house price bubble. This is particularly true when little new housing is financed and lending is largely for existing property. Given the high level of excess demand in the housing market and the fact that office buildings are being converted to residential buildings, office space is also likely to be in short supply in the coming years. As a result, rents in the office market can be expected to rise more strongly, and could – for a time – outstrip the rise in rents in the housing market. Since Chancellor Merkel assumed office in 2005 her term has been dominated by crisis management, which often required leadership and moderation of differing interests in Europe. Managing the UK’s departure from the EU will have top priority for the time being. Nonetheless, Merkel is likely to focus her attention on domestic topics as much as on European ones in the upcoming months given the looming federal elections in autumn 2017. Also in this issue: Fewer insolvencies in German industry. [more]
July 4, 2016
Region:
70
The political and economic implications as well as the order of events of the Brexit are currently very hard to predict. We assume that Europe – as usual in recent years – will “muddle-through”. The ECB will not panic, but wait to assess the consequences of the UK’s choice to exit the EU. Due to Brexit we lower our 2017 German GDP forecast to 1.3% from 1.6%. About half of that is due to lower export growth. The other half of the revision results from lower investment in machinery & equipment by German corporates. All told, domestic demand should only feel a marginal impact given that the fundamental drivers – healthy labour market and construction sector – remain intact. Further topics in this issue: German consumers, labour market and Germany in the aftermath of the EU referendum in the UK. [more]
June 8, 2016
Region:
71
Over the past century central banks have become the guardians of our economic and financial security. The Bundesbank and Federal Reserve are respected for achieving monetary stability, often in the face of political opposition. But central bankers can also lose the plot, usually by following the economic dogma of the day. When they do, their mistakes can be catastrophic.
Today the behaviour of the European Central Bank suggests that it too has gone awry. After seven years of ever-looser monetary policy there is increasing evidence that following the current dogma, broad-based quantitative easing and negative interest rates, risks the long-term stability of the eurozone. [more]
June 3, 2016
Region:
72
We revise down our Q2 GDP growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.1% as we expect material payback for Q1 strength. While we remain optimistic with regards to the labour market, we think that the impetus from low oil prices to real incomes is fading. In addition, the mild winter has allowed construction work to be brought forward, albeit the payback might be limited by the strength of underlying construction demand. Given weak export sentiment, falling investment goods orders and lower capacity utilisation, we think investment in machinery & equipment is going to weigh on Q2 growth. We maintain our 2016 GDP forecast (1.7%), though. Despite spending on refugees, the German national budget generated a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2015, the largest since 2000. However, the healthy short and medium-term fiscal outlook only marginally reduces the need for the reform of public finances. [more]
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