Bielmeiers Blog

DZ BANK

Stefan Bielmeier, DZ BANK’s Chief Economist and Head of Research, comments on economic developments in Europe, the USA and the Emerging Markets, assesses international financial market trends and gives his opinion on politics and economic policy – concisely, succinctly and to the point.

The economics and financial market experts of DZ BANK’s Research division support Stefan Bielmeier in his blog.

Find out more in Bielmeier‘s Blog about DZ BANK Research’s current topics, the experts’ focal areas, and their general viewpoints on the latest developments.
Bitcoins: the devil’s work or the currency of the future?

The price of the bitcoin digital currency has soared in recent weeks and months. It is breaking new records on an almost daily basis, having only recently exceeded the USD 2,000 mark. The acceptance of bitcoins is rising and the regulation of digital currencies is progressing too. However, bitcoins repeatedly appear in a negative context: the digital currency continues to be shrouded by a veil of illegality.  This is compounded by its extreme ideological background. The first users amidst the 2008 financial crisis were libertarians and anarchists, whose common aim was to topple the existing financial system with bitcoins. The fact that the developer is known only under its pseudonym Satoshi also generates a sense of mistrust. Nonetheless, the price of the bitcoin digital currency has more than doubled in the last two months. There are already several million bitcoin users worldwide and their numbers continue to rise on a…

Superficial compromise in Greece – debt problems put on the back-burner instead of being resolved

After a delay of several months, Greece will now receive its next credit tranche. Yesterday, European finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed a deal allowing a payout of EUR 8.5bn, thereby preventing the liquidity bottleneck which had been looming threateningly on the horizon for July. The creditors were able to bring an end to the tough negotiations by finding a compromise. Although the IMF will now formally participate in the third rescue package, it has announced that it will only make loan payments once the EMU creditors have finalised their plans for debt service relief. This means that, above all, Berlin has achieved its main objective: the IMF will retain its place at the negotiation table and, at the same time, the unpopular discussions regarding the debt service relief have been put off until next year, which will be after the German parliamentary elections. This has neither solved…

The British have voted for a “soft Brexit”

A transformation has taken place in the balance of power in Great Britain. After the general election, the conservative government now needs to form an alliance if it is to continue ruling the country at all. And this new alliance is good for Great Britain as well as for the European Union, as it raises the prospects of a “soft Brexit”. Theresa May is the great loser of the general election in Great Britain. In April she called a snap election – her party given a very comfortable lead in the opinion polls at that time and excellent approval ratings for herself. She was expected to win a landslide victory. But things turned out very differently: the Tories have remained the strongest power, but they have lost their absolute majority. Following this major election defeat, the Conservatives have now agreed on principle to work together with the Northern Irish Conservative…

SME business climate at record high

Brexit, the not too export-friendly policy of the new US government or the ongoing weakness that still prevails in some emerging markets are unable to spoil the good mood among small and medium-sized enterprises. The current business situation of the respondents of our SME survey that we launched 22 years ago has never been so good. Looking ahead into the near future, we can see that prospects have also improved considerably compared with last autumn. German SMEs have not been this optimistic for at least three years. The overwhelmingly positive mood of the SMEs is supported by the continued good economic framework in Germany. Most notably, the propensity to consume among private households is fuelling the demand for goods and services provided by the SMEs that have not been greatly affected by the rise in energy costs. The equity ratio has also increased and the quality of the SMEs’ balance…

Macron is flying high

President Macron is on track to make history. With his party that he only formed a few weeks ago, Macron is about to capture the majority in the National Assembly and therefore secure complete power. The camp of the political high-flyer – buoyed by his election as new head of state – was able to gain almost one third of the votes in yesterday’s first round of the parliamentary election. At the same time, the established powers, especially the socialists, are about to fade into parliamentary insignificance. The right-wing populists also lost significant approval compared with the presidential election. The Front National is therefore unlikely to play a significant role in policy making, at least in the current legislative period. According to the pollsters, the prospects that La République en Marche (REM) will dominate the chamber of the National Assembly look extremely good, allowing Macron to expedite his relatively pro-business…

Theresa May’s gamble backfires

Prime Minister Theresa May is the biggest loser in the aftermath of the UK general election. It is quite possible that the Tory party leader will have to accept the political consequences of this electoral defeat and step down within the next few days. Regardless of whether this happens or not, the Tories have two options if they want to stay in power: either the Conservatives will attempt to rule as a minority government or they will form a coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which would just about manage to create a slender majority. The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has emerged as the major winner in this parliamentary election. However, it will not be enough for him to become Prime Minister at the moment. Even a three-party coalition between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish SNP would not be enough for a majority, and…