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Not out of the woods, politics of no help

May 20, 2019
Region:
This edition of Focus Germany has quite a lot but rather short articles. We are taking stock of the German economy after Q1’s surprisingly strong growth. We expect the economy to flatline in Q2 and foresee an only subdued recovery in H2 given the recent flare-up of several geopolitical hotspots, rather than their hoped for de-escalation. We cross-check this analysis with deep dives into the auto and the mechanical engineering sector. We look at the impossible trinity of Germany’s fiscal policy (tax cuts, higher social expenditures and the black zero) and peek into the difficulties finance ministers are facing in the digital economy. We discuss to what extent the upcoming EP and Länder elections might spell more trouble for the Groko and introduce our new German financial conditions index. [more]

More documents contained in "Focus Germany"

89 (61-72)
June 1, 2015
Region:
61
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]
April 30, 2015
Region:
62
The financial situation of German households continued to improve markedly in 2014. The good income situation enabled them to make new investments to the tune of EUR 160 bn. In addition, the valuation gains on existing financial assets came to EUR 53 bn. Overall, total gross household financial assets thus increased from EUR 5 tr to EUR 5.2 tr (180% of GDP). Nothing has fundamentally changed with regard to the minimal risk appetite of German investors; risk-bearing investments still constitute less than 25% of financial assets. However, their share of new investments climbed to 11%. Furthermore, in 2014 EUR 20.5 bn of new debt was taken on. Both developments have probably been heavily influenced by the low-interest rate environment and are likely to continue in 2015 given the monetary policy outlook. [more]
March 30, 2015
Region:
63
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:
64
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:
65
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]
January 6, 2015
Region:
66
Following a weak winter half in 2014/15 the economy looks likely to regain its footing as 2015 progresses. However, sluggish performance at the turn of the year means growth will probably average only 1% in 2015 after 1.4% in 2014. It is encouraging, however, that private consumption should remain a major pillar of growth, whereas net exports are likely to have a neutral impact. Nonetheless, signs are increasing that some – in our opinion misguided – economic policy moves (such as the introduction of a nationwide minimum wage as well as an enhanced pensions package) are weighing on the labour market and thus on consumption. Given a weakening of cyclical activity and the costs of economic policy measures, we expect the general government budget to be slightly in deficit in 2015. [more]
December 2, 2014
Region:
67
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:
68
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:
69
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]
September 2, 2014
Region:
70
German GDP only 1 ½% in 2014, considerable risks for 2015. We have scaled back our GDP forecast for 2014 from 1.8% to 1 ½%, as we now expect weaker growth in H2. This also reduces our forecast for 2015 from 2.0% to 1.8%. The risks that this still constitutes an overly optimistic forecast have increased significantly. The German investment cycle will likely be more subdued than expected due to the ongoing weakness of world trade and increasing geopolitical strains. Even the hitherto still robust private consumption is emitting its first warning signs. [more]
August 4, 2014
Region:
71
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 30, 2014
Region:
72
After a good start into 2014, manufacturing output in Germany looks set to grow by 4% in real terms in the full year. Even though business expectations have recently weakened somewhat, they remain in positive territory. Despite the good labour market situation in Germany inflation has decelerated noticeably. The outlook of a recovering global economy, a sliding euro and the introduction of a nation-wide minimum wage in Germany lead us to forecast that inflation is bottoming out. After hitting 1.1% in the current year it could pick up to 1.6% in 2015. [more]
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