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Talking Point

In Talking Point we present our take on current affairs and developments in the worlds of business, financial markets and politics.

131 (81-90)
September 4, 2015
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Analyst:
Free trade stimulates economic activity in all the signatory countries. The free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea is a relatively recent example providing evidence of this fact. In H1 2015, German goods exports to South Korea were up by more than 50% on the level before the agreement came into force in July 2011; by contrast, total German exports increased by merely 13% in the same period. True, German imports from South Korea fell during this period. However, this was due to two sector-specific one-off effects. Stripping out these effects, the imports rose at an above-average pace. The positive economic stimuli should also be a strong argument in support of the current TTIP negotiations. [more]
81
August 27, 2015
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Analyst:
What is the story with the carbon bubble? How great is the risk of conventional energy company valuations plummeting on account of ambitious climate protection policy? There may be many reasons for investors to channel less money into "fossil fuel companies" than before or to abandon them altogether and opt for other types of investment instead. However, one should not put too much stock in the reason being an ambitious, reliable and internationally comprehensive climate protection policy or a global decline in demand for fossil fuels. A carbon bubble is an unlikely development in such an environment, especially since the evolutionary nature of climate protection policy and technological changes in the energy sector offer the respective companies opportunities to adapt over time. [more]
82
August 21, 2015
Region:
After literally seven lean years, the European banking industry’s recovery from the financial crisis is now in full swing. Profits are at their highest level since 2007, revenues are growing across the board (helped by favourable currency effects) and loan losses are falling. Banks are also expanding business volumes. Capital ratios are on average substantially above Basel III requirements, though uncertainty has increased recently due to a pending further regulatory tightening (“Basel IV”). [more]
83
August 19, 2015
Between 2000 and 2014, unit passenger car sales grew by 27.5% in China on average – per year. However, for the past several months there have been signs of the dynamic growth petering out; from May to July 2015 sales were in fact down 1.3% on the corresponding year-earlier level. The average growth of car demand in China is poised to plummet to a single-digit rate in the next few years. This is a step towards "normality". The anticipated slower growth in demand for passenger cars – coupled with growing production capacities in China for the time being – are likely to lead to further intensifying price and competitive pressures in the Chinese market. German makers of premium-segment cars will be unable to escape completely unscathed from the impact of such a trend. [more]
84
August 17, 2015
Region:
Big data is a hot topic. The large digital platform operators in particular have long recognised the economic potential of algorithm-based data analysis. They demonstrate this to billions of customers professionally every day. With their analytical technologies they generate high revenues and tie us loyal customers ever more firmly to their platforms via convenient and, above all, individualised services. A steadily growing number of companies want to imitate this lucrative lock-in effect so they can also capitalise on the benefits of big data. Nonetheless, in many sectors the implementation of modern data analysis tools is proceeding only sluggishly. Contrary to the expectations of some market participants, big data is not a simple add-on. [more]
85
August 14, 2015
Region:
For the average German a sack of rice falling over in China has long been none of his business. In the meantime, however, the importance of events in China for the German economy has come to be recognised. China's unexpectedly weak economic indicators and the fluctuations in the Chinese stock market have increased the scepticism over recent months about whether China will achieve the growth target set by the government for this year of around 7%. Our China economist remains confident that the Chinese economy will stabilise following expected GDP growth of nearly 7% yoy in Q3 thanks to the support measures instigated by the government. However, German exporters are already having to contend with a marked softening of demand from China. [more]
86
August 11, 2015
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Analyst:
Given the merely average state of communications infrastructure in Germany today, this country could fall behind in the international competition to attract investment. This worry is exacerbated by the fact that even within Germany there is a risk of a significant gulf developing between the regions. However, while broadband expansion is indeed making progress in the densely populated regions, major challenges exist in rural regions with respect to return on investment. When it comes to bridging systemic profitability gaps, the government will have to step into the breach if such projects are also to progress. The funding additionally earmarked in the federal budget and the revenues currently generated from "Digital Dividend II" should provide stimuli for expansion. However, despite government aid it must always be clear that broadband expansion can only be profitable in the first place if modern networks are complemented with modern services. [more]
87
August 10, 2015
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Analyst:
German manufacturers increased output by 0.2% qoq in real terms in Q2 2015. However, growth will probably be slower in H2 than anticipated to date. Therefore, we are revising our forecast for 2015 output to the downside – from 1.5% so far to 1% (both in real terms). The moderate uptrend is roughly set to continue in 2016. Manufacturing output could climb by 1% again in the coming year. This means its growth rate would continue to fall short of the long-term average. Furthermore, manufacturing's share in Germany's total gross value-added would decline. [more]
88
August 5, 2015
Region:
As one possible way of reacting to the loss of our data sovereignty, efforts should be taken to launch education campaigns without delay (ideally on an international basis). This can help to establish greater internet and media expertise among the population at large in the medium to long run. Furthermore, an international legal framework would be desirable in order to regulate the use of data and algorithm-based technologies as well as limiting lax data-collection practices. [more]
89
July 28, 2015
Region:
Debate over blockchain technology is raging in many online and offline media at present. In principle, the technology constitutes a decentralised ledger system that can be coordinated via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Any ownership or security issues arising in connection with the decentralised transactions conducted across the ledger system are handled by P2P mechanisms as well, i.e. also without a central node. Ownership status is established via the digital exchange of cryptographic keys (public vs private), while fraudulent transactions can largely be ruled out with the help of the cryptographic 'proof of work' system. Using a proof of work, blockchain technology enables the rapid, inexpensive transfer of assets and financial products between individuals who neither know nor trust one another, without a compelling need for an intermediary to reduce existing information asymmetries. [more]
90
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