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Heike Mai

More documents written by Heike Mai

37 Documents
December 8, 2023
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1
The external environment as well as monetary and fiscal policy should provide strong headwinds. Sentiment will likely be dragged lower by the increasingly evident structural problems. We anticipate a modest recession during the winter half to be followed by a gradual recovery from spring onwards. We expect the government to survive the internal quarrels with respect to the 2024 budget, following the constitutional court ruling. Debt brake reform is unlikely in the short run. A cross-party consensus for a Transformation Fund 2.0 might emerge before September regional elections. [more]
October 13, 2023
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2
A double-dip recession. Hard and soft data point to a GDP contraction of about 0.3% in Q3. Despite receding inflation,we expect that private consumption will only gradually come out of its rut, as consumer confidence has remained depressed. While the overall decline in GDP over the double-dip recession (Q4 22/Q1 23 and Q3 23) will probably be less than 1 percentage point, a renewed fall in GDP provides another blow to already downbeat German confidence. This negative feedback loop will likely weigh on the economy in 2024. In particular, structural supply bottlenecks look set to hamper growth opportunities and the energy transition is likely to slow potential growth in Germany towards 0.5% and keep the inflation rate above 2%. [more]
July 6, 2023
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3
To strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy, its authorities are also pushing for a retail payment solution provided by European players. A market-backed project and a state-backed project have emerged. While the European Payments Initiative (EPI) will build on existing instant payment infrastructure and the wallet is supposed to go live early next year, the legal and technical foundations for the digital euro are still under development. As both solutions could easily cannibalize each other, better coordination would benefit Europe. [more]
May 12, 2023
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4
Banks’ domestic sovereign exposures in the euro area ballooned during the financial and European debt crises but have markedly declined since then. Still, with 5% of total assets and 76% of capital, they remain considerable and a risk on bank balance sheets, especially in light of the general exemption from capital requirements and concentration limits. Risk parameters differ between national banking markets, and the home bias remains high, at around 80%, as banks hardly diversify into other euro-area debt. The cross-country differences make it difficult for policymakers to agree on a fully mutualized European Deposit Insurance Scheme and thus complete the Banking Union. [more]
December 19, 2022
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6
We look at the expected recession in the winter half-year 2022/23 and the onset of recovery, how inflation will peak, while the labor market loses momentum and private consumption is hit by the loss of purchasing power. Construction and Capex spending are set to deteriorate. Fiscal policy continues to lean against the headwinds but should normalize somewhat. Loan growth, both with corporates and private households, may slow substantially. In a medium-term perspective, we discuss risks for the manufacturing industry and Germany’s geopolitical and competitive position. [more]
September 14, 2022
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On July 21, the ECB announced that it would raise the interest rate on the deposit facility from -0.5% to 0%, effective July 27. By the end of that very month, banks in Germany had reduced their stock of banknotes and coins by a record EUR 11 billion. There is much to suggest that they will continue to reduce their non-interest-bearing cash holdings, as the ECB interest rate will rise further to 0.75% in mid-September. [more]
July 19, 2022
Analyst:
8
Stablecoins and the DeFi ecosystem have taken a hard hit recently. However, the current stress for cryptos caused by tighter monetary policy may reveal which services offer real value for customers. In fact, leading collateral-backed stablecoins have weathered the storm quite well. The ecosystem will probably face further losses but emerge consolidated and well positioned for continued growth. [more]
May 20, 2022
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9
In this edition of Focus Germany we look at the cyclical, short-term challenges brought about by the Ukraine war with regard to growth, inflation and public finances. We also analyse the more structural longer-term challenges, such as reducing the countries’ energy dependence on Russia and the governing coalition’s efforts to integrate new priorities precipitated by the historic watershed into its already very ambitious agenda. [more]
March 25, 2022
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10
In 2021, stablecoins’ market capitalization increased multifold to USD 170 bn. More importantly, they are the most traded coins in the entire crypto space and crucial for decentralized finance (DeFi). In the future, stablecoins could also gain traction in the real world – adding to the competition in the fields of retail and corporate payments. Stablecoins differ considerably in their price stabilization mechanisms and can pose risks, which have come into the spotlight of regulators. [more]
December 15, 2021
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11
Over 101 billion non-cash payments were made in the euro area in 2020, a meagre increase of 3.7%, which mainly reflects a slump in growth of card payments. However, depending on the country and on the payment situation, there were different trends during the pandemic. At the till, payment habits are converging towards card use. In online shopping, national differences (card or e-payment solution) seem to become more pronounced. [more]
July 12, 2021
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12
The introduction of a digital euro is drawing closer: as a digital version of cash it is primarily intended to be a means of payment rather than an instrument for investment. The ECB wants to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty in the world of payments as well as the euro’s competitive position vis-à-vis other currencies. However, this will only be achieved if the digital euro is used widely, which is not very likely. A limit is expected on how much users can hold, to prevent a massive outflow of bank deposits into digital central bank money. In this case, lending decisions and money creation would eventually shift to the ECB. Europe would face the question which type of monetary and financial system it wants. [more]
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