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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.

317 (21-30)
January 25, 2021
Region:
The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed and will continue to change working conditions in the long run. Companies have opened up for work from home solutions and hybrid work models seem to be the future. The recent increase in flexibility will enable companies to realise efficiency gains. On its own, however, remote working does not necessarily increase productivity per se. As employees work remotely, serendipity suffers. In Germany, demand for traditional office space appears likely to weaken in the medium term but the decline is likely to be smaller than the initial euphoria for remote working suggested. Demographic developments will considerably reduce the German workforce. Remote working may help to ensure workforce participation. We expect that working at the office and remote working will be combined in some way in the future - work from home has come to stay. [more]
21
January 18, 2021
Region:
Winning 53% of delegates’ votes, Armin Laschet - the PM of NRW and Merkel loyalist - secured a slim majority in the run-off for the CDU party leadership on Saturday. This does not come as a surprise, as Laschet was widely seen as the candidate with a small lead in a tight race. In the end, having most governing experience and a track record of winning elections probably tipped the scale in favour of Laschet (e.g. the former SPD stronghold NWR in 2017). Being well-connected within the CDU also paid off for him. However, with a mere difference of 55 votes this is no landslide victory, though still a clearer win for the Merkel camp than AKK’s 17-vote win over Merz in 2018. The slim majority is a reflection of the existing divisions within the party, leaving Laschet with the task of bridging those as soon as possible in this decisive super-election year. Norbert Röttgen (coming third in the election) quickly signalled support for Armin Laschet and was elected to the CDU’s steering committee. [more]
22
December 16, 2020
Region:
The COVID-19 crisis has intensified the lack of profitable low-risk investments, which is why numerous investors probably regard the German residential market as an attractive alternative to the bond markets. Rental returns have been trending downwards for ten years now, and the development looks set to continue until the spread between rental returns and low-risk bond yields has narrowed significantly further. [more]
23
December 10, 2020
Region:
The COVID cycle and vaccination progress will drive the economy in 2021. We expect that infection rates will not come down decisively before Q2. By summer vaccination numbers should reach critical mass. A strong recovery starting in Q2 should yield an annual GDP increase of 4.5% after a 5.5% drop in 2020.
All attention on the super election year 2021: Germany is facing federal elections and multiple state elections. Our baseline scenario is a conservative-green government, but coalition talks will significantly test the willingness to compromise on both sides.
(Also in this issue: global trade and exports, private consumption, labour market, equipment and other investment, the German housing market, public finances, inflation, German industry's corona losses) [more]
24
December 7, 2020
Region:
There’s no denying that the federal budget is increasingly in trouble. It may have been the right decision, and an important one at that, to loosen the shackles on the financial assistance and add supplementary aid schemes, but it must be ensured that things don’t get out of hand. If it keeps a lid on the likely pressure to consolidate, the government will need to pull out all the stops to preserve its fiscal resources by making more efficient use of them as the crisis progresses. The new federal government will face major challenges and weighty decisions in fiscal and economic policy. After all, it will ultimately have to manage putting the public finances back on solid ground without overly squeezing the economy with even more burdensome taxes and contributions. There is probably no way around a major reckoning next autumn after the Bundestag parliamentary elections. [more]
25
December 4, 2020
Region:
Germany’s main stock market index, Dax, is undergoing its biggest rule makeover so far. The number of constituents will rise from 30 to 40, trading volume will be dropped as a selection criterion and new members must have been profitable for two years before first-time admission. Governance standards are also tightened. While the index will become more diversified and slightly “younger” as a result, the enlargement will not reduce the massive overweight of the manufacturing sector. The new profitability requirement creates a questionable bias against young and rising start-ups. Furthermore, index rules cannot solve the fundamental problems hindering a stronger stock market (culture) in Germany – only policymakers can and should. Germany’s share in global market cap is only about half of its weight in the global economy. The most valuable company in the world is worth more than the entire future Dax 40 combined. [more]
26
December 3, 2020
Region:
Mankind has survived all kinds of pandemics, even the plague. However, humans are ill-equipped when confronted with an invisible danger. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has four important features which almost certainly overstretch the human analytical capacity: Time-lags, external effects, nonlinearities and complexity. We cannot escape our biases when deliberating COVID-19 . But being aware of them might yield more cautious and less apodictic views. Our evolutionary success can be traced to the fact that we became “social animals” with these biases often enhancing a smooth cooperation. Now it is on the society and its institutions to make sure that they do not cause people turning against society. [more]
27
November 27, 2020
Region:
Early this year, the government had to put together massive bailout and aid packages in next to no time in order to avert an imminent economic collapse. However, cash outflow from immediate assistance and interim aid schemes have so far fallen considerably short of the expectations. As a result, the funds budgeted for this purpose have not been nearly utilised to their full extent. In light of November’s partial lockdown, the government has now decided to increase the dose of its financial aid to solo self-employed, freelancers as well as small and medium-sized companies. Consequently, the mere ripple of support often bemoaned in this area could ultimately gather enough strength yet to become a mighty wave. The provision of aid over the further course of the crisis is to be strictly guided by necessity, effectiveness and appropriateness as fiscal resources are limited and the state cannot provide unlimited comprehensive cover. [more]
28
November 6, 2020
Region:
The corporate sector in Germany and particularly SMEs have become more resilient in terms of funding which should help them weather the corona shock. Current financing conditions also remain favourable: banks have hardly tightened lending standards, the government has issued unprecedented credit guarantees and the ECB is eagerly buying corporate bonds. Nonetheless, corporate insolvencies will rise as a result of the deep recession. Because the government has temporarily waived the obligation to file for bankruptcy, insolvency numbers have continued to fall until now but this may change soon. Rising loan losses will have a significant impact on German banks which are already exhausted by years of zero interest rates and low structural growth. With loan loss provisions possibly tripling, the banking industry will probably record a net loss this year. [more]
29
November 2, 2020
Region:
Q3 GDP surprise: A rear mirror view – but obstacles right in front. With the partial lockdown during November, the economy will almost certainly see another negative quarter, even in an optimistic scenario where restrictions succeed in squashing new infections and will be completely abolished by the end of November. Prepare the German healthcare sector for regional bottlenecks – protect risk groups better: The number of patients in intensive care and hospital capacity is just as important as the number of new infections. We estimate that 400,000 acutely infected patients are the limit for intensive care units. (Also in this issue: inflation outlook, German labour market, corporate insolvencies, German auto industry, global construction industry, German corona policy, open borders in the EU) [more]
30
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