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Energy price inflation – this time is different

January 26, 2022
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Due to significant demand/supply imbalances as well as climate policy measures, energy prices were the main driver of consumer price inflation in Germany in 2021. In 2022 as a whole, prices might increase by more than 20% for gas on average and by more than 15% for electricity. In that case, higher gas and electricity prices would substantially boost Germany’s inflation rate in 2022 (by up to 1 percentage point). In the medium term, a more ambitious climate and energy policy will very likely continue to raise consumer price inflation. At least over the transition period, rising CO2 prices (via the national carbon levy or the EU-wide emissions trading system) will not only lead to a permanently higher price trend for fossil fuels (oil/gas heating, fuels) but also costs for electricity generation. Overall, this weakens the widespread argument to view energy price increases as temporary. [more]

More documents from Eric Heymann

151 Documents
May 20, 2022
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1
In this edition of Focus Germany we look at the cyclical, short-term challenges brought about by the Ukraine war with regard to growth, inflation and public finances. We also analyse the more structural longer-term challenges, such as reducing the countries’ energy dependence on Russia and the governing coalition’s efforts to integrate new priorities precipitated by the historic watershed into its already very ambitious agenda. [more]
March 25, 2022
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2
Despite many years of expansion of renewable energies, Germany is – as most other industrialised countries in the world are – still dependent on fossil fuels. Germany imports close to 70% of its energy resources with Russia currently the most important supplier of fossil fuels. Germany aims to reduce its dependency on energy imports from Russia as fast as possible and plans to massively expand renewable energies but will also invest in LNG infrastructure to diversify gas supply. The short-term risk of being cut off from Russian gas and oil supply is more pronounced in the heating market and less severe in the electricity sector. A faster expansion of renewables is a consequence of the current energy crisis, but no short-term solution given limitations on the supply side. [more]
March 4, 2022
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3
War in Ukraine – slowing but not ending the German recovery. In a moderate economic scenario (which is our new baseline forecast) we expect German GDP to grow by between 2 ½% and 3% (old forecast 4%). Surging energy prices should push the annual inflation rate to around 5 ½% in 2022. Government spending is expected to be ramped up by 1 ¼ and 1 ½ pp, limiting the overall growth loss. In a more severe scenario headline inflation could rise to between 6 ½% and 7%, as oil and gas deliveries are at least temporarily halted. Annual GDP growth should be a meagre 1% to 1 ½%. [more]
December 15, 2021
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4% GDP growth in 2022, despite technical recession in winter half. A synchronous acceleration should result in annual GDP growth of 4%. In 2023, quarterly GDP growth will slow towards trend. In fiscal policy ambitious spending plans and debt brake commitment lead to open funding questions. Based on the previous fiscal regime, the fiscal deficit is set to narrow considerably. Still, the new government’s big spending plans, which are not yet quantifiable, could drive deficits considerably higher. Inflation decelerating from 5%+ rates, but higher core rate more permanent. Carryover effects and cost pressures will keep CPI inflation elevated. In 2023, headline and core rates are unlikely to fall below 2%. German politics 2022: “Team Scholz” will focus on climate protection and sizeable corporate tax allowances for green and digital investments. German EU policy might be less fiscal orthodox and open to a cautious reform of the EU’s fiscal rules. [more]
November 19, 2021
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In the face of rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates causing regional bottlenecks in intensive care units, the current caretaker federal government and heads of federal states agreed on further restrictions yesterday. From now on, the hospitalisation ratio in federal states will be the new single most important indicator to watch. It measures how many COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people have been hospitalised during the last 7 days. As soon as certain thresholds are exceeded, new restrictions will come into effect. In this Germany Blog, we explain the new thresholds and measures in detail and provide an economic assessment to illustrate the impact. [more]
November 5, 2021
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Another "COVID winter". GDP growth failed to accelerate further in Q3, as the supply shortages provided an increasing drag on industrial output. The supply chain issues will prevail throughout the winter half and only taper off very gradually during 2022. While private consumption was the growth engine in summer, the recent strong increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections will slow consumer spending during winter. Absent Q3 details we now expect GDP to stagnate in the winter half, but acknowledge the increasing risks of negative quarters. Given the upward revisions to H1 (published with the Q3 GDP flash) this would still result in an average growth rate of 2.5% yoy for 2021. Further upside surprises at all stages of inflation have, despite an increasing tightness in the labour market, not (yet) started a price-wage spiral. Also in this issue: The next German government is in the making. [more]
October 8, 2021
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Never since reunification have industrial companies in Germany complained as much about material bottlenecks as they do at present. In addition to physical shortages of intermediate products, rising prices are also currently problematic for companies. This is reflected in producer prices. In August 2021, they were around 12% higher than a year earlier – the biggest increase since December 1974. The latest development is not a German phenomenon. In many countries around the world, the current economic recovery is being dampened by supply bottlenecks and higher prices. Supply bottlenecks and rising prices for intermediate goods are hampering the economic recovery in the manufacturing sector. Here, new orders in August 2021 exceeded the production level by close to 22%. Overall, we expect supply chain disruptions to keep us busy into 2022, although the low point in the supply crisis may be behind us. [more]
September 8, 2021
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8
Due to the continuing shortage of semiconductors, 2021 will be another weak year for Germany as an automotive location. Although the current economic and supply crisis may have reached its low point, a return to earlier highs is unlikely – even in the medium term. By contrast, German auto manufacturers are reporting positive results and gaining share in important markets. The discrepancy between Germany as an automotive location and the German auto industry is becoming apparent. [more]
September 3, 2021
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9
The goal is clear: In the future, Germany’s energy needs are to be met to the largest possible extent by electricity from renewable sources. This will entail high initial expenses for companies and households, as existing infrastructure will have to be retrofitted or replaced. At the same time, companies and households have seen electricity prices rise more strongly than petrol, diesel, natural gas or heating oil prices over the last few years. This suggests that policymakers should reduce the state components of electricity prices as quickly as possible. This would have favourable social-policy effects and strengthen Germany’s position as an industrial hub, particularly since it has already suffered considerably from electricity-price-related burdens. [more]
August 10, 2021
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10
Demand for electric vehicles has recently surged. Two key drivers are behind this gain in market share: Tight caps on vehicle CO2 emissions combined with the classification of electric cars as zero-emission vehicles and subsidies to buyers of electric cars. The transition to e-mobility helps to protect the climate. The contribution to climate protection will rise over time due to technological progress and scale effects in production. However, it is small and expensive for now. For every one million electric cars sold in Germany in the next few years, the total fiscal effect amounts to at least EUR 15 bn over the twelve years after the sale. Carbon abatement costs may amount to more than EUR 1,000 per ton. The current regulatory regime is obviously neither efficient from an economic vantage point nor effective in environmental protection terms. [more]
July 1, 2021
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11
The spread of the delta variant will divert tourist flows in the 2021 summer season when individual holiday countries – such as Portugal recently – are classified as areas of variants of concern. However, delta is also likely to become dominant in Germany and other European countries in the near future. The question therefore arises as to how long the classification of countries with a high share of delta as areas of variants of concern can be justified. Ultimately, the classification into risk area and high incidence area might again be more reasonable. If a protection concept is lacking at schools after the summer vacations and delta leads to disruptions in school operations, this could influence the voting decisions of many people. [more]
June 25, 2021
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12
Climate change is one of the most important global challenges of the century. The issue essentially involves developing energy sources that are as efficient, cost-effective and low-carbon as possible. These should enable climate-friendly growth while also being politically acceptable. The transformation will entail significant limitations in terms of freedom of choice, and politics therefore needs to address social tensions. [more]
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