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Sectors and Resources

The Sector Research team analyses cyclical and structural developments. On the basis of its findings it draws up business and policy recommendations for the major sectors. These include the important branches of industry as well as wholesale/retail, services, energy, transportation and environmental policy

148 Documents
May 20, 2019
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]
May 15, 2019
For both environmental and economic reasons, a carbon tax would be superior to the current patchwork of subsidies and regulatory law (standards, bans, caps, quotas etc.) which characterises climate policy. However, the tax has a key disadvantage: while it sets a price for carbon emissions, it does not set a cap. That is why emissions trading is even superior to a carbon tax. Despite the convincing advantages of market-based in-struments, a fundamental re-orientation of German and European climate policy unfortunately appears unlikely. Instead, existing instruments will probably be adapted again and again once their negative side effects become too obvious. This will make climate policy less efficient than it could be and more expensive than necessary. [more]
May 13, 2019
The German logistics sector has continued to increase its overall turnover, despite the industrial recession. Logistics, one of the biggest sectors in Germany, seems to have decoupled from the industry to some extent. This is quite unusual. However, revenue growth in the logistics sector is supported by several developments: the boom in construction, a larger number of smaller deliveries due to the uptrend in e-commerce, the growing importance of value-added services and price effects. Nevertheless, the industrial recession is likely to have an impact on the logistics sector in the first half of 2019. We expect nominal revenues in the sector to stag-nate or even decline during the first half of 2019. [more]
April 18, 2019
Not least because they fear that the trend towards electromobility may cause losses in value added and job cuts in Germany, policymakers are debating subsidies for national battery cell production. From a regulatory perspective, supporting local manufacturing would be dubious and comes with high economic risks. On princi-ple, German automakers ought to be better judges than policymakers, both with regard to the indispensability of battery cell manufacturing in Germany and its long-term profitability. The state is not needed, at least not as a source of subsidies. [more]
March 18, 2019
Although the negative effects from the WLTP roll-out are currently petering out in German auto statistics, the recent weakness of global demand argues against a swift recovery of auto production in Germany. In 2019, passenger car sales look set to shrink slightly or at best stagnate in some key markets (US, EMU, UK), whilst rising only moderately in others (China). A rebound is unlikely to materialise before H2 2019, when output is also expected to turn positive in year-over-year terms. Going by the production index, annualised automotive output in Germany ought to be more or less flat in 2019, in our view. [more]
February 19, 2019
Despite broad-based weakness in recent months, the stock of orders in German manufacturing remained on the uptrend, partly led by the lack of skilled labour and one-off factors in the auto industry (WLTP, diesel). Whilst the high volume of unfilled orders should stabilise industrial production in the current year, the peak ought to be near, as suggested by recent results of the ifo business survey. On balance, manufacturing production in Germany looks set to be virtually flat in 2019. [more]
January 30, 2019
During the current cyclical upswing, which started in 2010, German manufacturing companies have increased their real gross capital expenditure by just above 3% p.a. In 2017, the industry accounted for 51% of total other capital spending (intellectual property) in Germany. This shows that manufacturing is the most important driver of research and development and thus of technical progress. The automotive and the pharmaceutical industries stand out from other sectors. The capital stock in energy-intensive industries has been shrinking for years now – a trend that gives cause for concern. While the German manufacturing industry is faced with long-term challenges, we believe that it is nevertheless sufficiently adaptable to remain competitive on a global scale. [more]
January 29, 2019
Dropping for the third consecutive year in 2018, nominal German exports to the UK were down by over 7% compared with 2015, the year preceding the Brexit referendum. The depreciation of the pound sterling and economic uncertainty in the UK were the key drivers behind the downturn. On the sectoral level, the pharmaceutical industry suffered the sharpest declines. In this sector, German exports to the UK look set to have nose-dived by more than 40% between 2015 and 2018, whereas auto exports to the UK plunged by over 20% in the same period. [more]
December 14, 2018
Ahead of and during the UN Climate Summit at Katowice, the usual warnings were heard, saying that a reduction in global carbon emissions was urgently necessary. However, these political calls are much too vague. Instead, the most inconvenient message remains unsaid: The technologies which are available today and in the foreseeable future will, in all probability, prove insufficient to counteract climate change to the necessary extent and with the necessary speed and, at the same time, allow households to stick to their consumption patterns and continue with the well-established division of labour along international production chains. [more]
November 21, 2018
Steady growth in air transport is leading to capacity bottlenecks, both in terms of available planes and at individual airports. Capacities will need to be increased, which means that more money must be earmarked for fixed-asset investments as well as labour and operating expenses. Taken together, the growing pains in the aviation sector and the rise in jet fuel prices may prove an overwhelming chal-lenge for some market participants. Air transport growth has also resulted in higher capacity utilisation in related sectors, such as tourism (the “overtourism” phenomenon comes to mind). There are, in fact, discussions about limiting or redirecting visitor flows. [more]