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Structural improvements support exceptional position

July 1, 2013
The findings of the latest Pew Research Center survey paint an impressive picture of the economic divergences within the euro area. The share of respondents in Germany assessing the current situation as “good”, for instance, has risen from 63% in 2007 to 75% currently, while this share has slumped heavily in all other European countries included in the survey. German companies have made particular use of the opening up of eastern Europe and the emerging markets to establish global production chains and thereby strengthen their competitive position. Policymakers should therefore do their utmost to reduce the impediments to the international division of labour. Has the east German housing market turned the corner? We find positive price-income relations in growing towns and – somewhat surprisingly – a negative relationship in shrinking towns. Our forecasts indicate a further differentiation among towns in east Germany in the years ahead. The following economic reasons may explain the finding: higher cost per capita of infrastructure in growing towns, path dependency of building costs and domestic migration. [more]

More documents from Jochen Moebert

69 (49-60)
April 6, 2017
In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
February 22, 2017
The headline inflation rates, which have increased substantially in recent months, have rekindled the debate surrounding the ECB's bond-buying programme. German producer prices have also risen sharply in recent times. In December 2016, the prices of metal (up by 5% on December 2015) and energy (up by 10%) increased particularly sharply. Nevertheless, the remaining inputs (weighting: 83.6%) continued to show no inflationary pressure at all. [more]
January 13, 2017
Munich remains the most dynamic German city when it comes to property, with its fast-rising population and historically low vacancy rate likely to lead to further price increases for many years to come. Further price rises are also expected in Berlin, although the main factors at play here are the very buoyant labour market and the fact that prices and rents are still relatively low for a European capital city. Of the German cities that were analysed for this report, Frankfurt has shown the lowest increase in prices in the current cycle. However, we are now seeing a Brexit effect, which is driving up prices for family homes in particular. Sluggish rent growth and a high level of construction activity are the most striking trends in Hamburg, which could make the city more sensitive to interest rate movements than other urban centres. The situation is similar in Düsseldorf, where the vacancy rate in the current cycle is relatively high for a large German city. For every city analysed here and for the overall German housing market we anticipate further price increases in the coming years. All the macroeconomic conditions that might signal an end to the cycle – such as a turnaround in interest rate policy, a massive expansion of supply and/or a slowdown in migration to Germany – are not yet fulfilled and it is likely to be several years before they materialise. Consequently, we expect rents and property prices in the major German cities and across the country to continue to rise sharply in 2017. [more]
December 21, 2016
German GDP growth is expected to slow somewhat in 2017 following considerable momentum over the last two years. We note the growth rate will almost half, to 1.1%, in 2017, but around half of this is due to a smaller number of working days. While the economy will likely have to do without a number of special factors that provided a boost to domestic demand in 2016, we believe that the underlying robust domestic economic growth path remains intact. Weak global trade and political uncertainty will dampen exports and investments. The ECB has in all but words indicated that tapering will begin in 2017. European interest rates are likely to remain at very low levels in 2017, at least at the short end. [more]
November 28, 2016
The question regarding the consequences of a Brexit for the EU, the United Kingdom and Germany is expected to remain unanswered for some time. The political uncertainties and exit scenarios range from a contentious separation to a second referendum. At present, however, we can expect that Frankfurt will be one of places to benefit most from a Brexit. In light of the differences between the size of London and Frankfurt, London's crumbs could become Frankfurt's pie. The relocation of jobs to Frankfurt is also likely to boost property demand. The additional demand potential is welcome on the Frankfurt office market because it will equalise structurally induced reductions in the financial sector and will tend to lead to further reductions in vacancies and increase rents. The assumed 5,000 office workers are likely to relocate to the highly priced sub-markets close to the city centre. However, as new building projects also focus on these sub-markets, positive demand effects will be diluted. Because of existing demand overhangs, disadvantages are emerging on the Frankfurt residential property market from a potential relocation of employees. Price growth and the shortage of housing will remain elevated for the foreseeable future. An additional 5,000 homes and a correspondingly elevated housing shortage are likely to drive prices up by more than EUR 100 per m². While purchase prices remain affordable thanks to low interest rates, they are strongly dependent on future interest rate developments. [more]
July 27, 2016
There is a high level of excess demand in the housing market and it has grown in recent years. Demand for credit is also growing at a correspondingly rapid pace. The supply of credit could be boosted by further monetary stimulus. In the medium term, more buoyant lending is likely to increase interest rate risk. However, if lending growth remains low, there will be increased risk of overvaluations and a house price bubble. This is particularly true when little new housing is financed and lending is largely for existing property. Given the high level of excess demand in the housing market and the fact that office buildings are being converted to residential buildings, office space is also likely to be in short supply in the coming years. As a result, rents in the office market can be expected to rise more strongly, and could – for a time – outstrip the rise in rents in the housing market. Since Chancellor Merkel assumed office in 2005 her term has been dominated by crisis management, which often required leadership and moderation of differing interests in Europe. Managing the UK’s departure from the EU will have top priority for the time being. Nonetheless, Merkel is likely to focus her attention on domestic topics as much as on European ones in the upcoming months given the looming federal elections in autumn 2017. Also in this issue: Fewer insolvencies in German industry. [more]
June 3, 2016
We revise down our Q2 GDP growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.1% as we expect material payback for Q1 strength. While we remain optimistic with regards to the labour market, we think that the impetus from low oil prices to real incomes is fading. In addition, the mild winter has allowed construction work to be brought forward, albeit the payback might be limited by the strength of underlying construction demand. Given weak export sentiment, falling investment goods orders and lower capacity utilisation, we think investment in machinery & equipment is going to weigh on Q2 growth. We maintain our 2016 GDP forecast (1.7%), though. Despite spending on refugees, the German national budget generated a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2015, the largest since 2000. However, the healthy short and medium-term fiscal outlook only marginally reduces the need for the reform of public finances. [more]
April 4, 2016
According to our and consensus expectations Germany will record 4 years (2014-2017) of above potential GDP growth in an extremely narrow range of 1.5% to 1.7%, despite substantial shocks and massive swings in growth drivers. If growth breaks out, a downside move seems more likely than higher growth. The economic slowdown in the oil-producing countries due to the falling oil price also carries implications for the German economy in terms of its foreign trade. Although the overall effect is positive for the German economy, German exports to oil-producing countries remain under pressure. Capital spending on residential construction has been growing sluggishly in recent years. The main reasons are: a shortage of building land, increased regulatory hurdles in virtually all construction sectors, high construction costs and a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry. [more]
March 3, 2016
Despite the challenging environment German exporters gained global market share in 2015. The year 2016 has not got off to an auspicious start, however. Our new “Export Indicator” points to a double whammy for German exports in 2016. The less favourable outlook for the demand and especially for the exchange rate impact looks set to slow export growth to around 3% in 2016. When analysing German exports, it is worth looking at sector-specific factors as they can play an even more important role than the macroeconomic environment. Overall, German industry faces a challenging year for exports. Further topics in this issue: House prices: Imminent return to normal, overvaluation likely; GDP growth 2016: More domestically driven & facing more downside risks; Merkel likely to weather even weak state election results. [more]
December 16, 2015
The German economy was extremely stable over the course of 2015, although the volatile newsflow that ranged from the oil price shock, material euro exchange rate depreciation, “Dieselgate” right through to the refugee crisis could make one think otherwise. Driven by a 15-year high in private consumption growth economic output rose by more than 1 ½% in 2015, as already achieved in 2014. Economic growth is set to accelerate to nearly 2% in 2016, following a pretty stable trend over the course of the year. Private consumption should remain the most important growth driver. Public consumption will remain expansionary given the continued influx of refugees and resulting public spending. If refugees can be successfully integrated into the labour market, the refugee crisis will provide Germany's ageing society with a medium-term opportunity. [more]
November 5, 2015
Since the last Focus Germany, some disappointing economic data have been published that fuelled the speculations around a slowing German economy. We do not believe that this requires revisions of our GDP forecast, though. Just like last year, the weakness of the industrial data is overstated by holiday effects. Nevertheless, there is a risk of an even lower foreign demand than stated by our already cautious estimates. This, however, is balanced by the upward risks for the domestic economy. Due to the migration dynamics over the summer months, we are reducing our budget forecasts for 2015 and 2016. Relative to gross domestic product we now expect surpluses of 0.3% and 0.0%, respectively (previously 0.7% and 0.5%). [more]
October 7, 2015
It will take many years to reduce the demand overhang in the housing market if there is not a huge jump in building activity. This harbours the risk that the current phase of prices returning to normal could first lead to overshooting and end in a market correction. This scenario comes with high economic costs. These could be avoided by improving depreciation conditions for newbuild housing in Germany's large cities and metropolitan regions. [more]