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Germany

Germany has recovered well from the global financial and euro crisis. To make sure that the future challenges are successfully addressed, a balance between sustainable growth and social participation are essential. To achieve these objectives further reforms are needed as well as an improvement of the macroeconomic framework. Policymakers, businesspeople and the public must face up to their responsibilities. DB Research analyses the economic and political conflicting ideas and incorporates possible solutions into economic and political outlooks. These are based on national sector research, global business cycle and financial forecasts as well as the assessment of international political developments.

237 Documents
September 17, 2019
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As our planet heats up, the public debate has increasingly focused on the use of fossil fuels in the last few years, in particular coal. There is only one major exception, namely the US, whose current administration doubts that human activities are behind the climate change. German hard coal had a share of only 6% in total coal consumption in 2018. 99.9% of the lignite consumed were mined in Germany itself, namely in the Rhineland, in Lusatia and in the Central German district. A number of market observers have been skeptical about or even downright against phasing out lignite mining, mainly due to the negative impact on employment. This is probably the main reason why policymakers have decided to provide up to EUR 40 bn to support/subsidise the exit from lignite production by 2038. [more]
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August 30, 2019
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The number of bank branches in Germany has declined sharply, to 28,000 in 2018 from around 40,000 in 2007. With 33 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants, branch density in Germany is still relatively high. Almost 70% of Germans visit a branch at least once per month. Clients who have a loan or a private pension plan or are a FinTech user are more likely to visit a bank branch, in contrast to Millennials and less wealthy Germans. In Q2, loans to German households were up by a record EUR 16.9 bn qoq and 4.4% yoy. Mortgages surged by EUR 13.2 bn and consumer loans grew dynamically by EUR 2.9 bn, too. Deposits again rose strongly by EUR 34.4 bn. [more]
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August 30, 2019
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Given that in the meantime most official forecasters agree with us that the Germans will suffer at least a technical recession, even German politicians and commentators are starting to join the so far mainly Anglo-Saxon chorus, asking for countercyclical fiscal measures. In our view the government should only act if there is clear evidence that we might be at the brink of a deep recession. Despite the undoubtedly massive economic policy uncertainties we do currently not expect such a scenario. [more]
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August 23, 2019
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What should an honest and law-abiding German citizen think when their finance minister, a high-ranking representative of the state, is investigating whether he can protect them from the actions of another state body, the central bank? This is exactly what the Bavarian Prime Minister Söder is calling for: a ban on negative interest on bank deposits (up to a certain level), whose chances of realisation are now being examined by the Federal Ministry of Finance. [more]
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August 19, 2019
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We see Germany in a technical recession, as we expect another ¼% GDP drop in Q3. Our forecast for 2019 is now 0.3%. Given no indication for a rebound we lowered our 2020 forecast to 0.7%. We acknowledge these revisions do not properly account for the recent accumulation of risks. Given the increasingly fragile state of the global economy, the realization of one or more risks could easily push the economy into a completely different scenario, where growth revisions of a few tenths of a percentage point will not be sufficient. (Also in this issue: German automotive industry, chemical industry, house prices, corporate lending, the view from Berlin, digital politics.) [more]
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July 8, 2019
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In case of a snap election in Germany, a CDU/CSU-Greens coalition could be an option. Given both camps' radically different political positions in many areas, such a coalition would require both to make significant compromises. A black-green government would need to direct its focus and its available financial resources to climate protection and the energy transition. Corporates and consumers would have to bear considerable costs. This also spells a dilemma for fiscal policy. A larger share of government spending would necessarily have to be allocated to providing subsidies and mitigating the social impact of a quicker energy transition. Citizens and corporates cannot hope for major tax relief. (Also included in this issue: German goods exports, German industry, labour market, automotive business cycle.) [more]
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July 5, 2019
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In Germany, a decline in the labour force is inevitable. This can be seen from the recently published official 14th population projection. In this projection, the Federal Statistical Office took into account the past years‘ massive immigration. The impact is impressive. In the next few years, the number of inhabitants will increase by about 1 million to approx. 84 million – a new record high. Under plausible assumptions regarding future immigration (i.e. in the volume close to the past 20-year average – 268.000 p.a.) this number will decrease only slightly in the next two decades. [more]
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June 18, 2019
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Mortgage loans in Germany have risen to EUR 1,240 bn in recent years (+29% since 2011) thanks to the strong economy and falling interest rates. To account for increased risks for the banks, supervisory authorities decided at the end of May to activate the countercyclical capital buffer for the first time. E.g., almost half of all new loans now have a rate fixation period of more than 10 years. Banks’ business with private households got off to a strong start in 2019. Net lending in the first quarter amounted to EUR 8.8 bn and deposits increased by EUR 21.8 bn, both record figures for the beginning of the year. Both mortgages and consumer loans grew strongly. [more]
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June 6, 2019
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Capacity utilisation in the German electricity sector has steadily declined over the last few years and amounted only to 34% in 2017. Much of this downtrend is due to the development of renewable energy generation. Average capacity utilisation is particularly low at wind and photovoltaic power plants, which are dependent on the weather. At the same time, these plants benefit from extremely low marginal costs and priority feed-in conditions. This enables them to (temporarily) squeeze out other electricity providers, whose average capacity utilisation has declined as a consequence. There is a political preference for natural gas to compensate for the consequences of the exit from nuclear and coal power generation during the coming years. Nevertheless, there are some risks for operators and investors. [more]
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May 20, 2019
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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]
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