News Bites

The number of sick days taken by German workers jumped by 60% between 2008 and 2016, with mental health problems a major driver of the growth, government figures showed.

The struggling state-owned bank NordLB has started a bidding process to sell off a minority stake. The bank posted a record loss of almost €2 billion in 2016. (Reuters)

An airline passenger is suing the federal police for €738 in damages after she missed her flight because of long security check queues. The businesswoman, who was flying from Cologne-Bonn to Mallorca, says there were not enough staff. (General Anzeiger)

The DAX got off to another roaring start Friday morning, almost hitting 12,450 points before falling back to around 12,410 at noon. Ten days ago it was trading under 12,000.

German industry grew more weakly in September than at any time in more than two years. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index fell 2.2 points to 53.7 points, indicating order growth ground to a halt.

Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann repeated his objection to sharing liabilities in the euro zone without nations handing over decision-making power to a central authority.

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M&A

German dealmaking at record pace despite warning signs in the distance

German companies have been involved in deals this year worth more than twice as much as last, making it rain cash on global investment banks.

Guiding principles

Why the Bundesbank shuns liability-sharing in Europe

Many ideas to strengthen the euro-zone involve a "mutualization of risk" without enough accountability, says Jens Weidmann, boss of Germany's central bank. This oft-repeated message taps into a German school of thought that's easy to spot.

1MDB mess

Deutsche Bank exec linked to Malaysia fund scandal

Investigators in Singapore are probing the role of a Deutsche Bank manager in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB Malaysian state fund corruption scandal.

future scenarios

Deutsche Bank’s playbook of possible options

At a strategy meeting over the weekend, executives at Germany’s largest bank mulled a takeover, a merger or a return to its roots. But Deutsche has a stack of homework to do, meaning there are no easy solutions in sight.

Sticky transition

Too many life insurers still caught in interest-rate trap

Germany's life insurers have made little headway in offsetting low-interest rates with smarter investments, a new study finds. Only one in four of the big companies is on sound economic footing.

Gold bricks

German real estate

Long tipped as a rising star in the European market, Germany has finally come into its own. Our series on residential property highlights some favorite cities for expats and investors alike.

Tenants' rights

Germany tightens rent controls amid housing shortage

A new law is set to increase rental price transparency, cut opportunities to hike rents after renovations and places the burden of proof in disputes on landlords.

Enough is enough

ECB halts a major economic stimulus, and no one blinks

The European Central Bank is pulling down the curtain on its controversial bond-buying program at the end of 2018. Some will be saying good riddance, as the scheme has shown mixed results.

Nein, Danke

Austria’s compromise on European deposit insurance irritates Berlin

Germany opposes any sharing of liability until European banks clean their balance sheets of toxic loans.

2008 all over again?

High-risk loan boom could end in bank crisis

Banks and other investors are issuing more leveraged loans to highly indebted companies than ever before. But if defaults rise, as they did in 2008, they face a rude awakening.

Deutsche-Commerzbank?

Bank merger rumors roil markets

Fresh speculation over a possible merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank sent the shares of both skywards yesterday, with analysts backing what they think is a sensible solution all around.

courting trouble

How Germany’s version of the class-action lawsuit functions

The VW investor lawsuit looks like a US-style class action but it isn't. The possibilities for suing companies are more limited in Germany, though they're changing.

Fraudulent refunds

Pan-European tax fraud web leads to New Jersey and Dubai

A handful of conspirators teamed up to steal from European taxpayers, aided by a little-known German bank. Prosecutors are just now catching up with the suspects.

Exit the dragon

Deutsche Bank’s Chinese shareholder to sell stake

Anchor investor HNA has decided to part with its Deutsche Bank shares to help stem its liquidity problems. The sale could bring Germany’s biggest bank much-wanted stability.

Down not up

DAX earnings suffering despite economic boom

Investments, a strong euro and a certain US president are putting the brakes on earnings growth in Europe's biggest economy.

envion blockchain container cryptocurrency

Zero day

Envion: The chronology of a cryptocurrency catastrophe

The company promised shining returns by coupling renewable energy with blockchain technology. Investors who gave the company $100 million are now left with a near-worthless virtual currency.

hymer caravan IPOs germany

Market entries

More major German IPOs floating on the horizon

Exyte, Hymer and Knorr Bremse are all expected to launch initial public offerings in the coming months, making 2018 a record year for German IPOs.

Tech-tonic shift

High-flying tech index set for slowdown

The dynamic TecDAX has enjoyed enormous gains in the past few years but the introduction of several more cumbersome DAX-listed firms this month is likely to weigh it down in the future.

Beautiful Berlin

Room wanted

As property booms, Berlin is a victim of its own success

Tens of thousands of people move to the German capital every year, stretching a once-relaxed housing market to the breaking point.

frankfurt banks skyline, bank consolidation mergers

Too small to succeed

European banking market may see megamergers soon

Big bank mergers were taboo after the financial crisis, but regulators are encouraging them to boost flagging profits. German and Austrian banks could be among the first to consolidate, UBS predicts.

Handelsblatt Banking Summit

Hard Brexit won’t be so soft for Germany

Europe needs to do more to offset the loss of London as a financial hub with small- and mid-sized companies affected most, insiders say.

New tricks

Doubts grow on Commerzbank strategy

Commerzbank’s revamp has yet to bear fruit and it’s at risk of being evicted from the DAX. But CEO Martin Zielke remains committed to his strategy of digital change and growth.  

Something for everyone

Hamburg fights housing crunch with cooperation

City planners and developers are teaming up to assure a steady flow of new residences in Germany's premier port – a sensible model worth adopting by others.

Feeling good

Germany’s economic slowdown is postponed, Ifo says

Germany’s business outlook has brightened because fears of a trade war with the US have subsided, according to the latest Ifo business sentiment index.

Unreal Estate

Wealthy Stuttgart is poor in living space

Passion for fruit trees and a sheer lack of available land are making a housing shortage worse in the booming Swabian heartland.

passive aggressive

German banks resist mandatory accounts amid charges of high fees

New legislation ordering banks to extend payments services to people without accounts adds to their costs without boosting their profits.

Gold elephant?

Bundesbank hits a snag in headquarters revamp

Germany’s fabled central bank has a reputation for reliability and competence that its "campus project" will test – and may tarnish.

germany world largest trade surplus

Exports over imports

Germany has world’s largest trade surplus for third year

A study by the Ifo Institute puts Germany, Japan and the Netherlands at the top this year. Who has the biggest deficit? The US, much to Trump's chagrin, no doubt.

Austere future

German finance minister says Greece bailout was a success

Economists say the country must make good on cost-cutting and debt-servicing pledges before they sound the all-clear.