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23. September 2019
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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. [mehr]
20. September 2019
So far, Germany’s efforts to arrive at a more sustainable energy profile (the ‘Energiewende’) have focused on the electricity sector. However, attention is increasingly shifting towards the transport sector and its steadily rising carbon emissions. Decades-old demands, such as replacing road by railway transport, are being repeat-ed once again, even though they have been found impossible to realise. And some new concepts are being presented, such as micro e-mobility. However, their contributions to transport reform are negligible at best; they may even prove counterproductive. Ultimately, the solution is simple, if uncomfortable: long-term climate protection goals (i.e. virtual carbon neutrality) can only be reached by a considerable decline in traffic, unless technology makes significant progress. Policymakers will find it difficult to convey this message, seeing that individual mobility is one of the key concepts of a liberal society. [mehr]
17. September 2019
As our planet heats up, the public debate has increasingly focused on the use of fossil fuels in the last few years, in particular coal. There is only one major exception, namely the US, whose current administration doubts that human activities are behind the climate change. German hard coal had a share of only 6% in total coal consumption in 2018. 99.9% of the lignite consumed were mined in Germany itself, namely in the Rhineland, in Lusatia and in the Central German district. A number of market observers have been skeptical about or even downright against phasing out lignite mining, mainly due to the negative impact on employment. This is probably the main reason why policymakers have decided to provide up to EUR 40 bn to support/subsidise the exit from lignite production by 2038. [mehr]
2. September 2019
Listen to Oliver Harvey, Macro Strategist, discuss the latest on Brexit. The UK government intends to prorogue parliament from 10th September to 14th October when the government will hold a Queen's Speech. This limits the ability of MPs to table legislation to prevent no deal Brexit and signals that the Johnson government may be prepared to break constitutional precedent to take the UK out of the EU without a deal. At the same time, it could crystallise opposition to a no deal Brexit this week in the House of Commons leading to a unity government. [mehr]
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