Sectors and Resources
The Sector Research team analyses cyclical and structural developments. On the basis of its findings it draws up business and policy recommendations for the major sectors. These include the important branches of industry as well as wholesale/retail, services, energy, transportation and environmental policy.
Robotics
Robotics and automation outperform, backed by “Industry 4.0”
The German mechanical engineering sector recently tripled its growth forecast for 2017, from 1% to 3% (both in real terms). Robotics and automation is an important growth driver; this sub-segment is likely to increase output by 7%, i.e. double the rate of the segment as a whole. The mega issue “Industry 4.0” plays a key role for this development. As this trend is gaining importance both in Germany and around the world, the medium-term outlook for the sub-segment remains excellent as well. [more]
The digital car
The digital car: More revenue, more competition, more cooperation
The traditional automobile industry and companies that, in the past, had no involvement in the sector, are working hard to create software solutions, driver assistance systems and other technologies that will make networked, autonomous, traffic jam and accident-free driving possible. That means the “digital car” in its ideal form is no longer a utopian vision for the future, but is instead gradually taking shape. However, the path to the digital car will be more of an evolution than a revolution. That is the result of factors on both the supply and demand side. They include the considerable development times in the industry and the longevity of its products, cars. Consumer preferences, which have been shaped over decades, are also unlikely to change over night. It will take several decades for digital cars to make up a significant proportion of cars on the road – that is unlikely to happen before 2040. [more]
Diesel cars
Diesel: prematurely written off?
The diesel scandal and political uncertainty surrounding future regulation are the main reasons why the proportion of vehicle registrations accounted for by diesel cars has slumped recently in Germany and most other EU countries. If the automotive industry wants to continue to rely on diesel technology, it needs to regain credibility and get to grips with the issue of emissions – including in real-world driving conditions. If it doesn't manage to do this, lawmakers are likely to progressively tighten the regulatory framework for diesel cars. However, should the industry succeed in bringing to market clean diesel cars at affordable prices, these cars would remain the most economical option for a large proportion of motorists – at least until alternative drive technologies become competitive from the customer perspective. This would make current proclamations of the death of diesel somewhat premature. [more]
Electric cars
False start for electric cars – dilemma facing the automotive industry and the state
In 2016, electric cars and hybrids represented only 1.8% of all new passenger car registrations in Germany. It therefore remains a niche market – despite the introduction of subsidies last year. The average car buyer steers clear of electric vehicles because of high purchase costs, uncertainty about resale value and battery life, limited range, a lack of charging stations and lengthy charging times. This reluctance to buy presents the automotive industry and the state with a dilemma: strict CO2limits for new vehicles mean that the industry has to invest heavily in electric-car technology, but it cannot expect an equivalent payback in terms of revenue in the foreseeable future. For the state, it can come down to a straight choice between granting expensive subsidies or failing to reach climate change targets. [more]
Germany
Uncertainty is slowing capital expenditure
In view of the pronounced economic and (geo)political uncertainties and the weak starting level, (private-sector) equipment investment in Germany is likely to decrease in 2017 despite a respectable level of capacity utilisation. The interplay of multiple factors is currently causing a high level of uncertainty: the potentially serious impact on Germany in the event of the uncertainties materialising, the continued high number of simultaneous uncertainties, the complexity of many capital expenditure decisions and the lack of confidence in politicians (and/or their ability to come up with solutions). We will present several uncertainty indicators based on news, surveys and financial markets data that provide a way of quantifying the uncertainty.  [more]
Logistics
Logistics: weak environment – no trend reversal in sight
Over the next three to five years, global trade is likely to grow only at or around the same pace as global GDP. This structurally weaker momentum will be reflected in slow growth in the global and regional flow of goods, as has already been the case in recent years. In its role as an open, export-oriented economy, Germany – and the German logistics sector in particular – will continue to feel the sting of this development. At a nominal average of 2% a year, turnover growth in the sector is likely to be below the long-term average in the years ahead. [more]
 
 
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