News Bites

CEO Martin Zielke said if Commerzbank drops out of the DAX, “for our customers, for our business, nothing changes at all.” He added it would reinforce his strategy of “further developing the bank technologically.” (Reuters)

Germany’s Biontech is working on a $305 million project with Pfizer of the US. The biotech company from Mainz is researching personalized immunotherapy for cancer and other illnesses.

Claims paid out by reinsurers totaled $20 billion in the first half of the year, down $10 billion from the same period in 2017, Swiss Re reported. (Reuters)

The city of Hamburg is selling off 50 refugee shelters for just €1,000 each. The catch? You have to pick them up yourself. (Spiegel)

The EU’s trade surplus with the US grew 16% in the first half of the year, reaching €66.9 billion, Eurostat said.

With the Turkish lira in crisis, the German Finance Ministry has assured it would ignore the usual €1.5 billion annual cap on export guarantees. Berlin guaranteed €831.7 million in goods to Turkey in the first half of 2018. (DPA)

Spooked by US sanctions, Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom are halting operations in Iran. Telekom ended business with Tehran in May; DB will phase out projects by September. (WiWo)

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Germany’s gaming market grew by 17% in the first half of the year, with sales of computer and video games totaling €1.5 billion, Gamescom reported.

The German hospitality industry grew by 2.5% in the first half of 2018 compared to a year earlier. (Destatis)

Berlin’s U-Bahn is in a “precarious position,” with operations threatened by worker shortages, difficult schedules and equipment breakdowns, employees wrote to BVG management in an open letter.

After a strong second quarter, payment services startup Wirecard raised its earnings projection for this year to as much as €560 million.

Monsanto, Bayer’s agrochemical subsidiary, may face more fines in the US after farmers in Arkansas and South Dakota filed lawsuits over alleged damages from the herbicide glyphosate. (WirtschaftsWoche)

Consumer goods giant Henkel said currency swings and higher raw materials prices weighed on its second-quarter results. Pre-tax profits rose 1.8% to €926 million.

The freight game

How China put Duisburg back on the trade map

Back from the dead, the former Ruhr steel hub is fast becoming the main European stop for Chinese goods arriving on the new Silk Road, challenging Hamburg's dominance as Germany's premier port.

David vs Goliath

Little-known fintech Wirecard overtakes Deutsche Bank

Wirecard. a rising fintech star, is now worth more than staid old Deutsche Bank. Next, the startup will displace Commerzbank in the DAX index.

Rain or shine

Germany’s renewable energy production defies fickle weather

The recent unpredictable weather is a reminder of renewable energy's variability, prompting coal proponents to argue Germany shouldn't abandon conventional fuels. But heat waves don't play favorites.

Cheap digs

European cities move to restrict Airbnb rentals

Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam are among cities setting limits to availability and requiring registration and reporting from renters.

Editors’ Pick

Handelsblatt Explains

Why Germans take their vacations so seriously

It's hard to get much done in Germany during August because Germans consider holidays a human right. An investigation into the undeniable earnestness of the German vacation.

Dive In

No Schadenfreude

The West shouldn’t revel in Erdogan’s misfortunes

Turkey is teetering on the brink, almost as if karma finally caught up to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Still, it is not the right for Europe to gloat about the power-hungry leader’s troubles, writes Handelsblatt’s Jens Münchrath.

Lira Losses

German companies uneasy with Turkey’s seesawing lira

As currency fluctuations shake Turkey, German companies with operations in the country are wondering what, if anything, they could do.

Daily Briefing

Bayer: has glyphosate, needs Aspirin

Bayer’s glyphosate crash; VW’s Bentley problem; the worsening Turkish crisis; and Merkel’s next meeting with Putin: Our daily briefing for August 14.

Slow lane

VW’s Bentley gets left behind as a luxury car cash cow

The classic British brand is losing money, prompting its parent, Volkswagen to tie it more closely to the moneymaking Porsche.

Poisonous effects

Bayer stock craters after US cancer verdict against Roundup

Alarmed investors wipe €10 billion off Bayer’s market value after a US jury awarded $289 million to a plaintiff who claimed Monsanto’s glyphosate product caused his cancer.

Deutsche Bank

Insiders buying shares in beleaguered German companies

A Deutsche Bank supervisory board member is the first insider to buy shares in the company in seven years — and he bought €1 million worth.

Not so cheap

German firms face staffing woes as Chinese labor costs skyrocket

Rapidly rising wages are an increasingly significant cost factor for German firms in China as competition for qualified staff heats up.

A sea of polluters

Shipping industry struggles to reach 2020 emissions targets

Maritime traffic is one of the worst offenders for air and water pollution, as well as CO2 emissions. The industry faces the challenge of meeting strict new regulations in less than two years' time.

New bestie

Spain’s Sánchez gives Merkel badly-needed backing on migration

With immigration critics challenging her authority in Germany and across the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel found an ally during an informal meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Spinning outwards

Frankfurt tests the limits of trendy real estate

To relieve a housing crunch, Germany's banking capital attempts to recast its outskirts as the place to be. Despite fears, though, Brexit has yet to stoke extra demand.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.

Self-made man

The wolf of Germany’s insurance brokerage business is down but not out

Mehmet Göker, the son of Turkish immigrants, became a millionaire entrepreneur in his 20s before it all went wrong. From the safety of his exile on the Turkish Riviera, the disgraced sales guru gives get-rich seminars while German courts want him tried for fraud.

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