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More resilient than expected

September 24, 2020
Region:
We have lifted our GDP forecast for 2020 to -5.5% and see the economy expanding by 4.5% in 2021. An important factor is that the rebound during Q2 – when GDP contracted by 9.7% – turned out more dynamic than expected. The momentum carried over into July. Even with some likely short-term moderation in August, we now expect Q3 GDP to increase by 6.0% qoq. Together with a 2.5% expansion in Q4, this should result in an annual GDP drop of “only” 5.5%, compared to the 9% expected in early May at the height of the pandemic in Europe. The higher carry-over lifts our 2021 GDP growth forecast to 4.5%, despite somewhat weaker momentum in H1 than expected earlier. (Also in this issue: labour market, bilateral exports, fiscal outlook 2020-22, German industry, the race for CDU leadership, and federal election prospects.) [more]

More documents from Barbara Boettcher

97 (13-24)
March 15, 2021
Region:
13
In yesterday’s regional elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW) and Rhineland-Palatinate (RP), the CDU achieved disappointing results and thus faces a dismal start into this election year. The CDU was up against two extremely popular prime ministers who appeal to voters across the political camps. However, nondescript CDU candidates, allegations around mask procurement deals and growing discontent about pandemic management are behind the heavy defeats. The new CDU party leader Armin Laschet was not able to change the party’s fortunes. Nevertheless, Laschet’s chances for Merkel’s succession remain intact, in our view. While another six months until federal elections is a long time in politics, the state elections serve as a reminder that a conservative-green coalition which is the consensus so far, is not a foregone conclusion. With Merkel’s bonus for the CDU/CSU fading, vaccine problems continuing and the surprising revival of the Liberals, other coalition options for the Greens might open up. [more]
March 10, 2021
Region:
14
On March 14, regional elections in Baden-Württemberg (BW) and Rhineland-Palatinate (RP) will provide the first electoral test for the parties in the run-up to the federal elections. Polls see the ruling Greens in BW, respectively the SPD in RP in the lead, but uncertainty about the polls is higher this time given the fallout from the pandemic. Additional headwinds for the CDU result from a current political outrage over questionable procurement deals of two CDU/CSU Bundestag MPs. The new CDU party leader Laschet is not up for election but the performance of the CDU will of course be (partly) attributed to him. However, as long as the CDU is not experiencing a severe setback compared to its 2016 results, Laschet’s chances of being nominated as the CDU/CSU chancellor candidate remains intact in our view. [more]
March 9, 2021
Region:
15
At the onset of this decisive election year, Germany finds itself confronted with an increasingly multipolar world, a weakened liberal, rule-based world order and rapid technological change. By applying the concept of a SWOT analysis, we aim at kicking off a debate about possible trajectories for the German economy in the post-Merkel era. As key threats to Germany’s "business model" (export-driven with a strong innovative industrial base), we identify (i) a continued erosion of the liberal rule-based trading and investment order and (ii) the falling behind in the global tech race with respect to Green-tech, AI and IoT. By plotting these two threats on separate axes, we then develop four scenarios and identify key drivers that will define Germany‘s position on these axes. For the new government complacency or reactive policies are no options – "High-Tech Made in Germany" might turn out to be an upside scenario. Strong reform effort of both the government and corporate sector is needed in order to secure Germany’s place in the "best-of-all-worlds" scenario. This requires a proper allocation of R&D investments, reaping the benefits of industrial data and an accelerated diffusion of cross-sectoral technologies like AI. [more]
February 17, 2021
Region:
16
German GDP: Down (Q1) but not out (in 2021). The longer “hard” lockdown, weather-related losses in construction and impairments in car output due to chip supply problems have prompted us to cut our Q1 GDP forecast to -2% qoq. We continue to expect a strong rebound in the summer half propelled by healthy global demand, supportive fiscal and monetary policy and German households’ pent-up demand. Inflation: Now expecting 2% for 2021! The Jan print of 1% yoy surprised massively to the upside, in part due to one-offs. But the strong rise in core goods prices begs the question whether the Jan readings could herald stronger underlying inflation dynamics. There are still strong arguments for a continuation of structurally low inflation dynamics. However, we see risk that price dynamics could strengthen more strongly through impaired supply conditions. Overall, we now project the inflation rate to average 2.0% in 2021. Towards the end of 2021 the headline rate could spike to as much as 3% before easing to 1 ½% in Q1 2022. [more]
January 18, 2021
Region:
17
Winning 53% of delegates’ votes, Armin Laschet - the PM of NRW and Merkel loyalist - secured a slim majority in the run-off for the CDU party leadership on Saturday. This does not come as a surprise, as Laschet was widely seen as the candidate with a small lead in a tight race. In the end, having most governing experience and a track record of winning elections probably tipped the scale in favour of Laschet (e.g. the former SPD stronghold NWR in 2017). Being well-connected within the CDU also paid off for him. However, with a mere difference of 55 votes this is no landslide victory, though still a clearer win for the Merkel camp than AKK’s 17-vote win over Merz in 2018. The slim majority is a reflection of the existing divisions within the party, leaving Laschet with the task of bridging those as soon as possible in this decisive super-election year. Norbert Röttgen (coming third in the election) quickly signalled support for Armin Laschet and was elected to the CDU’s steering committee. [more]
December 10, 2020
Region:
18
The COVID cycle and vaccination progress will drive the economy in 2021. We expect that infection rates will not come down decisively before Q2. By summer vaccination numbers should reach critical mass. A strong recovery starting in Q2 should yield an annual GDP increase of 4.5% after a 5.5% drop in 2020.
All attention on the super election year 2021: Germany is facing federal elections and multiple state elections. Our baseline scenario is a conservative-green government, but coalition talks will significantly test the willingness to compromise on both sides.
(Also in this issue: global trade and exports, private consumption, labour market, equipment and other investment, the German housing market, public finances, inflation, German industry's corona losses) [more]
November 2, 2020
Region:
19
Q3 GDP surprise: A rear mirror view – but obstacles right in front. With the partial lockdown during November, the economy will almost certainly see another negative quarter, even in an optimistic scenario where restrictions succeed in squashing new infections and will be completely abolished by the end of November. Prepare the German healthcare sector for regional bottlenecks – protect risk groups better: The number of patients in intensive care and hospital capacity is just as important as the number of new infections. We estimate that 400,000 acutely infected patients are the limit for intensive care units. (Also in this issue: inflation outlook, German labour market, corporate insolvencies, German auto industry, global construction industry, German corona policy, open borders in the EU) [more]
September 23, 2020
Region:
20
The two August mass demonstrations against the corona measures in Berlin attracted wide media attention and rattled the public. Many felt confirmed in their feeling that the corona crisis is driving society further apart. Current surveys, however, show that 80% of Germans firmly support the government and trust in government is at a record high. Rather, the protests go beyond the corona crisis, which might be a door opener for general system criticism. The causes for criticism and uncertainty are more likely ongoing long-term trends such as the loss of western supremacy, demographic change, climate change or digitalisation. [more]
August 10, 2020
Region:
21
Monthly data point to a strong pickup in economic momentum during the course of Q2, in part due to catch-up effects. Still, after the unprecedented 10.1% GDP contraction in Q2 we expect a 5% increase in Q3 followed by a 2% rise in Q4 (consensus: 5.2% and 2.4%). We now expect German GDP to contract by 6.4% (compared with -9% predicted in early May) followed by a 4% increase in 2021. Still, the pre-COVID output level will not be reached before mid-2022. The current exceptional volatility in monthly data and the further development of the global pandemic imply that the error margins remain exceptionally high. (Also in this issue: Merkel’s strength might become a burden for her potential successors.) [more]
August 5, 2020
Region:
22
The EUR 750 bn recovery package agreed upon by EU leaders two weeks ago will be financed through EU borrowing while the EUR 1,074 bn budget for the next seven years mainly depends on EU members' direct contributions. For the Commission to tap markets, the own resources ceiling – i.e. the maximum amount that can be called per year to finance EU expenditure – will be temporarily increased from the current 1.2% to 2% of EU members’ GNI. The Council committed itself to reform the EU’s financing system and plans to introduce new own resources for early repayment of EU borrowing. The top priority at present is swift adoption of the budget and recovery fund to address the consequences of the pandemic over the coming years. Following agreement in the Council, the MFF 2021-2027 now requires the consent of the European Parliament, in an absolute-majority vote. The decision about own resources – EU borrowing, increased ceiling and new own resources – needs to be approved by all member states in accordance with their constitutional requirements (including approval by national parliaments). While we do not expect an overall blockage of the package by the European Parliament or member states, delays cannot be excluded. [more]
July 9, 2020
Region:
23
With Germany’s rather successful COVID-19 strategy and the recovery and stimulus packages broadly agreed, the question of Merkel’s successor and the next German federal elections in autumn 2021 are gradually getting closer political attention again. Parties are currently not only preparing for the election, but are also arguing about the electoral law: the present law allowed the Bundestag to grow from 598 mandates to the current record size of 709 mandates, with the 2021 election likely to result in an even bigger number of seats. The Bundestag just failed to pass a reform before the summer break and thus in time for the 2021 elections. However, political and public pressure to find a solution is high and will keep the issue on the political agenda. [more]
June 26, 2020
Region:
24
How deep is your trough? Daily activity trackers suggest that the economy turned at the end of April as lockdown measures were gradually lifted. But we still expect a double-digit decline in Q2 GDP. The EUR 130 bn fiscal package was somewhat above our earlier expectations but does not change our GDP forecast, especially as still-prevailing pandemic uncertainties might curtail the economic impact of the package. But upside risks to our -9% GDP forecast for 2020 have (somewhat) increased. (Also in this issue: corona pandemic update, German public finances, global trade, German tourism during the corona crisis, German politics goes European) [more]
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