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State subsidies for battery cell production: For information on risks and side effects, please do not consult policymakers or recipients of incentives

April 18, 2019
Region:
Not least because they fear that the trend towards electromobility may cause losses in value added and job cuts in Germany, policymakers are debating subsidies for national battery cell production. From a regulatory perspective, supporting local manufacturing would be dubious and comes with high economic risks. On princi-ple, German automakers ought to be better judges than policymakers, both with regard to the indispensability of battery cell manufacturing in Germany and its long-term profitability. The state is not needed, at least not as a source of subsidies. [more]

More documents from Eric Heymann

111 (13-24)
April 9, 2019
Region:
13
If you think of Germany in the night (and you are an economist) three questions will jolt you from your sleep. Will external demand recover? Will the auto industry overcome its WLTP-induced supply shock and (if you are a Keynesian economist) will the government launch a fiscal package? The answers, of course, are not independent of each other. (Included in this issue: German exports 2019, world trade, the automotive industry's performance, public finances and the view from Berlin) [more]
March 18, 2019
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Analyst:
14
Although the negative effects from the WLTP roll-out are currently petering out in German auto statistics, the recent weakness of global demand argues against a swift recovery of auto production in Germany. In 2019, passenger car sales look set to shrink slightly or at best stagnate in some key markets (US, EMU, UK), whilst rising only moderately in others (China). A rebound is unlikely to materialise before H2 2019, when output is also expected to turn positive in year-over-year terms. Going by the production index, annualised automotive output in Germany ought to be more or less flat in 2019, in our view. [more]
March 4, 2019
Region:
15
The recession in German industry can be traced to the massive slowdown of global trade in 2018. Will the German service sector withstand the recession in industry, as some recent survey data seems to suggest? We doubt it. In previous downswings in the manufacturing sector services were pulled lower, too. Indeed, the two sectors' output trends during 2018 did already follow this pattern. (Also in this issue: Economic Minister Altmaier's National Industrial Strategy 2030, the German Federal Budget, lower total and rental inflation thanks to new basket, corporate lending in Germany, the view from Berlin) [more]
February 19, 2019
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Analyst:
16
Despite broad-based weakness in recent months, the stock of orders in German manufacturing remained on the uptrend, partly led by the lack of skilled labour and one-off factors in the auto industry (WLTP, diesel). Whilst the high volume of unfilled orders should stabilise industrial production in the current year, the peak ought to be near, as suggested by recent results of the ifo business survey. On balance, manufacturing production in Germany looks set to be virtually flat in 2019. [more]
February 5, 2019
Region:
17
Given much weaker than expected January business surveys and in particular the slump in their more forward-looking components we are now expecting the German economy to contract again in Q1 2019. Due to the yet unknown Q4 GDP outcome and its contradictory signals we currently refrain from formally revising our 1% GDP forecast lower again, but are expecting to shave off several tenths of a percentage point come February 22nd, unless the Statistical Offices Q4 GDP breakdown – and the new monthly data available by then – provide us with substantial positive surprises. While a technical recession might be avoided by a hair’s breadth with a positive Q4 number, the development of several key cyclical indicators is telling us that the German economy is drifting towards recession right now. [more]
January 30, 2019
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Analyst:
18
During the current cyclical upswing, which started in 2010, German manufacturing companies have increased their real gross capital expenditure by just above 3% p.a. In 2017, the industry accounted for 51% of total other capital spending (intellectual property) in Germany. This shows that manufacturing is the most important driver of research and development and thus of technical progress. The automotive and the pharmaceutical industries stand out from other sectors. The capital stock in energy-intensive industries has been shrinking for years now – a trend that gives cause for concern. While the German manufacturing industry is faced with long-term challenges, we believe that it is nevertheless sufficiently adaptable to remain competitive on a global scale. [more]
January 29, 2019
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Analyst:
19
Dropping for the third consecutive year in 2018, nominal German exports to the UK were down by over 7% compared with 2015, the year preceding the Brexit referendum. The depreciation of the pound sterling and economic uncertainty in the UK were the key drivers behind the downturn. On the sectoral level, the pharmaceutical industry suffered the sharpest declines. In this sector, German exports to the UK look set to have nose-dived by more than 40% between 2015 and 2018, whereas auto exports to the UK plunged by over 20% in the same period. [more]
December 14, 2018
Region:
20
The 0.2% qoq drop in Q3 GDP was, of course, largely due to the WLTP effect, but underlying growth has also clearly slowed in 2018. After mustering 1.6% in 2018, we expect German GDP to expand by 1.3% in 2019. Growth should be only marginally higher in 2020, despite a strong positive working day effect, as a further slowing of the global economy and EUR appreciation will provide considerable external headwinds. [more]
December 14, 2018
Analyst:
21
Ahead of and during the UN Climate Summit at Katowice, the usual warnings were heard, saying that a reduction in global carbon emissions was urgently necessary. However, these political calls are much too vague. Instead, the most inconvenient message remains unsaid: The technologies which are available today and in the foreseeable future will, in all probability, prove insufficient to counteract climate change to the necessary extent and with the necessary speed and, at the same time, allow households to stick to their consumption patterns and continue with the well-established division of labour along international production chains. [more]
November 21, 2018
22
Steady growth in air transport is leading to capacity bottlenecks, both in terms of available planes and at individual airports. Capacities will need to be increased, which means that more money must be earmarked for fixed-asset investments as well as labour and operating expenses. Taken together, the growing pains in the aviation sector and the rise in jet fuel prices may prove an overwhelming chal-lenge for some market participants. Air transport growth has also resulted in higher capacity utilisation in related sectors, such as tourism (the “overtourism” phenomenon comes to mind). There are, in fact, discussions about limiting or redirecting visitor flows. [more]
November 4, 2018
Region:
23
GDP stagnation in Q3 – 2019 forecast lowered to 1.3%. Despite signs that the WLTP effect is subsiding the recovery looks set to be slow. Export expectations and business sentiment in general have become more clouded on the back of the US/China trade conflict, the problems in the EMs and overall heightened economic uncertainty. Whilst we expect the economy to get back on track in the winter half-year, expansion rates well above potential have become unlikely in 2019. We have therefore trimmed our 2019 growth forecast to 1.3% (1.7%). (Also included in this issue: Auto industry, labour migration, the race for Chancellor Merkel’s succession) [more]
October 12, 2018
Region:
24
During the last few years, the expansion of digital infrastructure in the EU has been carried out more slowly and less comprehensively than politically intended. The EU’s objective of ensuring fast broadband coverage of more than 30 megabits per second for all Europeans by 2020 seems out of reach. There are economic and regulatory reasons for the insufficient progress with digital infrastructure improvements. However, inadequate digital infrastructure puts companies at a disadvantage versus US competitors, but increasingly also versus Chinese players. The European Commission estimates that more than EUR 500 bn will need to be invested by 2025 to achieve the goal of a “gigabit society”. [more]
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