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Germany Monitor

In the "Germany Monitor" series we address political and structural issues which have great significance for Germany. These include commentaries on elections and political decisions, as well as technology and industry issues, and macro-economic topics which go beyond the business cycle matters addressed in "Focus Germany".

97 (61-70)
January 23, 2014
Region:
Germany pursues ambitious energy and climate policy objectives and is thus a trailblazer in these fields internationally. However, the faltering UN climate protection process shows that other countries are not following Germany's lead or are moving at a slower pace. In Germany, a barely perceptible process of de-industrialisation has already begun in energy-intensive sectors. CO<sub>2</sub> emissions are shifting from Germany to other countries. In order to stop the barely perceptible process of de-industrialisation and carbon leakage, Germany should either join forces with Europe to achieve faster progress and more stringent targets in international climate protection or else curb its own pace. At the very least, Germany has to seek to make its Energiewende more efficient. Moreover, energy-intensive companies are going to require exemption regimes in the future, too. [more]
61
December 5, 2013
Region:
Analyst:
The findings of our study show that in both the periods before and after the Lehman collapse higher liquidity and lower risk aversion go hand in hand with lower yield spreads between federal bonds and Länder bonds. With regard to the influence of fundamental macroeconomic and fiscal variables on the yield spread there are, however, differences between the periods before and after the Lehman collapse. Up until the Lehman collapse neither the debt level nor the relative economic output had a significant impact on the size of the yield spread. Like in the European bond market, however, the economic output and the debt levels of the Länder have been major determinants of the yield spread since 2008 – despite (implicit) joint liability of the different levels of government. [more]
62
November 15, 2013
Region:
German industry is showing first signs of recovery. In view of the large statistical underhang of 1.6% from the year 2012, we expect, however, that industrial production will only stagnate in the current year. In 2014, industrial activity will continue to increase (+4%). The upswing is associated with stronger growth in important foreign markets of German industrial companies, especially in the US and – to a lower extent – in China. The EMU countries will also register positive GDP growth again, so exports will give a boost to the economy. This supports e.g. the automotive industry, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. [more]
63
September 26, 2013
Five years after the global financial crisis hit both the US and Europe, banks across the Atlantic are in very different shapes. US banks have returned to record profit levels, while their European peers are struggling to stay above the zero line at all. The differences are mainly driven by diverging trends in revenues, corporate lending growth and loan loss provisions all of which have developed much more favourably in America than in Europe. This may have been caused largely by three underlying factors: i) the better macroeconomic performance of the US, ii) European banks' less aggressive dealing with problematic legacy assets and their greater need to deleverage and shrink, and iii) differences in the institutional setup - in Europe at times triggering doubts over the very survival of the Monetary Union, in the US allowing the Fed to massively intervene in financial markets. As the US economic recovery gains strength and Europe emerges from the debt crisis and recession, banks face improvements on an operating level, with EU financial institutions likely to narrow but not close the gap to their US competitors. [more]
64
September 4, 2013
Region:
Analyst:
Advanced television is now incorporating more personalised, mobile and interactive elements. It will not, however, completely relinquish its original character in the process and will thus remain the primary medium. Many media companies are relying on alliances and takeovers to expedite the business model realignment associated with this transition. This means that the media market will remain extremely dynamic: there will be new players entering the market, new business models, but also takeovers and exits from the market. In such a situation long-term strategies backed by ample capital reserves are particularly promising – all the more so if they are also allied to a positively perceived brand name. Accordingly, the media market is set to undergo increasing consolidation again following a period of segmentation – albeit with a new group of players and names that are in some cases already well known from related sectors. [more]
65
August 7, 2013
Analyst:
Derivatives markets form a major part of the regulatory reform agenda. While corner-stones of the reforms have been defined, some crucial issues such as the exact definition of standardised derivative contracts, the treatment of cross-border trades and CCP access to central bank liquidity are yet to be clarified. The decrease in volumes in derivatives markets can largely be explained by trade compression. Even though there is a notable shift from dealer to CCP trades for interest rate derivatives and a less remarkable shift for the credit derivatives, the actual capacity of the clearing market is much higher. Regulatory pressure to encourage standardisation seems to have created little impetus for greater standardisation to date and the use of exchange platforms seems to remain subdued. Even though collateral practices would become more expensive for all market participants, non-financial corporations as counterparties are more likely to be affected by collateralisation obligations in the future. A few CCPs dominate the market suggesting concentration issues. [more]
66
July 16, 2013
Analyst:
The traditional, global power plant order is in a state of flux for a myriad of reasons. There is no doubt that in the days following Fukushima it was premature to predict a rapid end to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Over the next 20 years the newly erupted gas vs. coal contest in the electricity market will not produce a single “global winner”. Whereas in the US gas continues to assert its dominance, in Asia coal remains the no. 1 source of energy. The power generation landscape is becoming more colourful: while Germany is banking on renewables, France is sticking with nuclear power generation and other nations retain their preference for coal. The continuing increase in the thirst for electricity over the next 20 years provides sufficient scope for the coexistence of the most diverse power generation alternatives. [more]
67
July 16, 2013
Frontier CIS economies have grown at a robust rate of 8% yoy on average since the turn of the century. Growth prospects for 2013-14 remain fairly positive at around 5% p.a., with stronger growth expected in the Central Asian CIS economies. Trade links with Russia have diminished significantly, although they remain substantial. China and emerging Asia are becoming increasingly important trade partners for the region. Some of the countries have been implementing structural reforms, but much needs to be done to strengthen institutional and policy frameworks, develop financial markets, diversify away from commodities and improve the business climate and governance more generally. [more]
68
July 15, 2013
Region:
Analyst:
The announcement of Fed tapering has boosted financial market volatility and high-yield spreads. This is an important development for private equity because debt markets are a major driver. However, historical patterns suggest that this spike may be a temporary phenomenon during which markets are weaned off the liquidity glut. [more]
69
July 15, 2013
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is growing fast with annual real GDP growth of over 5% in the last decade, second only to developing Asia. Medium-term growth remains robust, on the back of a recovering global economy, still high commodity prices and investment in productive capacity. SSA is at a crossroads. It has a window of opportunity to capitalise on its youth surge and resource wealth to create employment and inclusive growth. Political change and reforms are key. It will not be easy but democratisation, urbanisation and virtual connectedness bode well. Investments in infrastructure/logistics and education, economic diversification, market reforms and improved governance are critical for long-term success. [more]
70
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