Bielmeiers Blog

DZ BANK

Selecting business news – analysing it – commenting on it. That’s the job of Stefan Bielmeier, Chief Economist and Head of DZ BANK’s Research and Economics Division, and of his team of analysts. In his blog, Bielmeier reports on economic developments in the world's most important economic regions, looks at trends in the international financial markets and states his position on current political events.

Bielmeier’s Blog picks out the essence of the daily data deluge for you – make use of his expert knowledge.
Apple and Qualcomm make their peace

The two technology corporations Apple and Qualcomm have reached an agreement on their dispute over patents, which has dragged on for years now – only a few hours after court proceedings on the dispute opened in the USA. The “iPhone” manufacturer had accused Qualcomm of charging overly high licence fees for smartphone patents and therefore instructed its contract manufacturers not to make licence payments to the chip developer. Qualcomm thereupon sued Apple for using the patents without making the associated payments. The agreement now reached applies retroactively as of 1 April 2019 and terminates all ongoing legal proceedings worldwide, both between the two companies and between Apple’s contract manufacturers and Qualcomm. The corporations have now concluded a licence agreement that runs for six years with the option of it being extended for a further two years. During this time Apple will make licence payments to Qualcomm. Moreover, Apple has undertaken…

European politics is becoming more important

It’s not so long ago that the European elections were no big deal and for many politicians Brussels was a comfortable place to end their career (voluntarily or not). This has changed a lot. The European Parliament and the European Commission have become important elements not only of European, but also of national politics. In the meantime, many political impulses come from Brussels, and the further development of the EU is orchestrated there in cooperation with the heads of government. It will, therefore, be all the more important to strengthen democratic legitimacy and to keep the influence of national interests within proper bounds. Against this background, a right of initiative for the European Parliament would be an important development. But this will no doubt be some time coming. In the last few elections we have seen an increasing divergence of political opinions. Parties at the extremes of the political spectrum…

China: Economic stimulus measures showing first effects

China’s economy seems to have fallen back into step. Economic growth stabilized at 6.4% at the beginning of the year. This comes as a positive surprise. Above all, the very dynamic acceleration of industrial production in March by three percentage points to 8.5% signals that the economic stimulus measures initiated by the Chinese government in recent weeks are having an effect. State investment activity and investment in infrastructure have also picked up. Clearly problematic is that we are once again seeing the „old“ stimulus packages with the typical longer-term risks to financial stability and potential growth. The OECD has only recently warned Beijing of this. On the other hand, the boost to private consumption thanks to the VAT reduction from 16% to 13% is to be welcomed. It should also prove conducive to spurring demand for automobiles which has fallen sharply. However, there are still no visible signs of this…

Economics Minister lowers forecast to 0.5 percent – why?

In line with expectations, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier has once again lowered his forecast for economic growth in 2019 – from 1.0 to 0.5 percent. The Federal Government is therefore positioning itself more sceptically in its economic outlook than the economic research institutes in their joint diagnosis published just under two weeks ago. In the report commissioned by the Ministry of Economics, the institutes are forecasting a growth rate of 0.8 percent for the current year in Germany. This clear deviation from the cumulative and specially commissioned expertise of these economic think tanks is somewhat surprising. The reasons behind this may well be political, even though Minister Altmaier explicitly spoke out against a government stimulus package when presenting the forecast. At all events, it is not easy comprehending the economic rationale of the new forecast. The first quarter, that is hugely important for the full-year forecast, is already behind us,…

Wealth creation through less regulation

As the current German Bundesbank study on “Private Households and Their Finances” reveals, average net assets in Germany rose between 2014 and 2017 by EUR 18,300 to EUR 232,800. However, wealth remains unevenly distributed. The unequal distribution of wealth is more pronounced in Germany than it is in the Eurozone as a whole, but is less so than in the United States. It is interesting that above all citizens with real estate and share investments benefited from value increases. In the international comparison though, precisely these asset categories have a weak weighting: German investors are regarded as risk-averse because they avoid equities and tend to favour investments in the form of bank deposits and insurances. Moreover, German citizens more frequently rent their homes rather than own them outright. In this context, both asset categories are especially important for wealth creation: Equities, funds and the corresponding certificates contribute to the broad…

Finland: political shift to the left

For quite some time now, the political fringes have been gaining in strength in the elections in Europe. This trend is also very evident in Finland, where the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won the general election and is therefore the strongest party in parliament for the first time since 1999. It was followed closely in second and third place respectively by the right-wing populist Finns Party and the conservative National Coalition Party. The Centre Party of Finland of the (as yet) incumbent Prime Minister Sipilä is now only expected to be parliament’s fourth strongest party in the future, so that Sipilä clearly is the loser of this election. The Greens and the Left Alliance also made significant gains. The results reflect very strongly the topics that dominated the election campaign: aside from the Sipilä government’s strict austerity policy of reforms as well as higher levels of immigration in recent years,…