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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.

136 (111-120)
February 20, 2015
Region:
The commercial and data protection foundations for debate about big data may well already be in place. But far removed from the debate about monetisation and data misuse there is another world in which data applications, regardless of their data volumes, can provide a valuable economic benefit to society. Our increasingly digital and data-driven economy enables us to more rapidly detect potential ways to boost efficiency and productivity and subject them to closer scrutiny. In this context, the desire for greater transparency, participation and collaboration provides an important motive for experimenting ultimately in fact with new forms of democratic processes. The initially exponential growth in the volume of data and its intelligent evaluation provide the fertile breeding ground needed for innovation and economic growth in the digital age. [more]
111
February 6, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
Manufacturing output in Germany rose by 1.9% in real terms in 2014. Q4 helped to end the year on an upbeat note, as a decline in output at the end of 2014 – which we had still been forecasting in autumn – did not materialise. The outlook for 2015 has also improved. German industry is getting a boost from the depreciation of the euro, which is materialising faster and more heavily than expected, as well as from the surprisingly steep drop in the oil price. We have therefore recently raised our forecast for manufacturing output in 2015 in real terms ¾% to 1.5%. [more]
112
January 27, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
SMEs' access to finance problem constitutes a considerable impediment to the recovery in many European countries, therefore prompting calls for policy action. Among the options to spur bank lending to SMEs, covered bonds backed by SME loans are currently discussed as a potential remedy. Despite SME-covered bonds offering lucrative features for investors and issuers alike, there are significant constraints that may limit their potential to revitalise bank lending to SMEs for the time being. [more]
113
December 5, 2014
Region:
2014 is witnessing a remarkable reversal in some important European banking trends of the past few years, according to the 9-month results of the continent’s largest banks. This is not solely a positive thing: apart from improvements in core revenues and a return to balance sheet expansion, expense levels are also rising again. Is deleveraging and shrinking over, then? [more]
114
October 9, 2014
Since its outbreak in December 2013 in Guinea, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has resulted in over 3,000 deaths out of 7,000 cases, according to the World Health Organization. The actual figure could be higher since there is evidence of substantial under-reporting of cases and deaths. This outbreak has been spreading considerably faster than previous ones, mostly because it has reached urban areas in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It could spiral to over 500,000 infections, and potentially many more, by the end of January if control measures do not improve, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In contrast to this worst-case scenario, mobilisation by the international community as seen recently and increased education in affected countries could almost end the epidemic. [more]
115
August 20, 2014
Region:
The half-year results of large European banks offer ammunition to both optimists and pessimists: loan losses and administrative expenses are shrinking, but so are total revenues. Net interest income, the sickly child of recent years, finally seems to be stabilising; however, net income is down again to poor levels. The state of an industry with two distinct faces. [more]
116
June 25, 2014
Region:
Current results are still very weak, with total revenues and profits both at the lowest level since 2009. But the largest European banks can justifiably draw hope from a stabilisation in interest income as well as fees and commissions, from declining loan loss provisions and shrinking expenses. The bottom line may have broadly bottomed out, though pressure from litigation charges and the ECB’s balance sheet assessment remains high. New record capital levels abound. [more]
117
June 13, 2014
Forecast to grow at 8% per year over the next five years, Mozambique is benefiting from mineral wealth and infrastructure development following a 30-year civil war and from a favourable macroeconomic environment. However, the southern African country has a very low GDP per capita (USD 655). It is now facing the challenge of developing its wealth of natural resources, particularly the gas sector, so that this benefits the population at large and leads to sustainable growth. [more]
118
April 1, 2014
Region:
The fundamental transformation of the European banking sector into a leaner, less profitable, low-growth but also more stable industry in the “new normal” continues to make progress. Banks are shedding assets, reducing costs and raising capital ratios, with revenues in 2013 having declined for the third consecutive year. Legacy assets and litigation remained an additional, significant burden. Nonetheless, profitability has improved somewhat from its extremely low levels and may well rise further this year. [more]
119
December 16, 2013
Region:
Following years of struggle and having seen their world turned upside down, European banks may finally be heading for a (somewhat) smoother ride in 2014. Profitability is returning, though so far this is mainly driven by lower extraordinary charges rather than improvements in revenues and costs. Pressure to build capital may lessen thanks to significant progress over the past two years, yet currently banks are still shrinking relentlessly. Much will also depend on regulatory and supervisory actions, especially on how the EU Banking Union is implemented. [more]
120
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