News Bites

The European Commission will launch a procedure next Wednesday to fine Italy over its 2019 draft budget, according to EU officials. Rome has proposed a 2.4% budget deficit for next year, triple the amount planned by the previous government. (Reuters)

ECB President Mario Draghi expects the euro-zone economy to continue its expansion despite a slowdown in the third quarter. The central bank’s bond-buying program is set to end next month, he confirmed.

Thanks to higher tax revenue, Germany’s 16 states increased their joint budget surplus to €19.6 billion in the first nine months, up more than 50% from the same period last year.

Deutsche Bank’s spun-off asset management arm, DWS, will retain a worldwide presence, keep Frankfurt as its base and needs to work more efficiently, new CEO Asoka Wöhrmann told staff.

Euro-zone consumer prices rose 2.2% in October, the fifth straight month inflation was above the ECB’s mid-term target of “close to but below 2%.”

After losing several court cases, Swiss bank Sarasin decided to pay back €50 million to drugstore owner Erwin Müller, who had lost most of the sum after Sarasin had invested it on his behalf in dubious tax-evasion deals with stocks.

Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is interested in buying a €1 billion portfolio of loans to air transport companies from DZ Bank. The banks declined to comment. (Reuters)

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Brexit banking

Deutsche Bank still calling London home, for now

Deutsche Bank is moving fewer operations to Frankfurt than expected. Despite slashing hundreds of UK-based investment banking jobs, the lender says London will remain crucial to its global business after Brexit.

Starting afresh

Money-laundering unit to scrutinize real-estate market

The new boss of Germany’s embattled anti-money laundering office wants to restore confidence in the organization after a chaotic start and chase dirty cash in the property market.

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.

Five Wise Men

Economists cut German growth forecast, urge tax relief for companies

The government's economic council warns expansion is slowing after a prolonged upswing amid trade tensions and other problems.

Steep valuations

High prices turning investors off German real estate, survey says

Germany’s property market is starting to get too expensive for investors, according to a new study. The focus is shifting to Portugal and Finland.

Totaled

Competition tips German auto insurance into loss

The battle for share of a saturated market is keeping a lid on premiums as repair costs for tech-laden cars soar.

Stake in Sewing

Brave US investor takes a bet on Deutsche Bank

Hudson Executive, an American hedge fund, has made a surprising investment in Deutsche Bank and is on board with CEO Christian Sewing’s new strategic plan.

2.5 percent

German inflation rises – but no one is worried

Volatile energy prices are pushing inflation up in Germany but economists say that's good news - and not just for the euro zone's biggest economy but for the whole currency union.

Wild West currencies

German regulator aims to police the crypto market

With Bitcoin markets increasingly marred by scandal, the need for a tighter leash is painfully apparent. Germany’s financial watchdog, BaFin, faces a daunting task.

Squeezing piggy banks

German mega-merger would create a banking juggernaut

Combining five of Germany’s biggest public-sector banks would slash costs and create the country’s second-largest lender. Ensuring its long-term profitability is another matter.

Sinking ships

Struggling Commerzbank makes surprise bid for NordLB

Germany’s second-largest private bank has joined the chase for its smaller state-owned rival NordLB, which has foundered on bad shipping loans.

vicious circle

Deutsche Bank improves costs but weak revenues disappoint investors

Germany’s largest bank is failing to convince the market that it is on the right track to long-term profitability.

Bullshit Banking

German fintech poster child N26’s major security gap

German banking startup N26 is winning over customers and investors with its pledge to offer “banking without the bullshit.” But a security test shows how easy it is to open an account under a false name.

german startup funding, venture capital

Money mismatch

German investors funding domestic startups less than foreign ones

German venture capital firms are increasingly putting their money in foreign startups instead of funding homegrown businesses, to the government's dismay.

DAX your lot

Growth slowdown threatens booming German DAX firms

With the blue-chip DAX index tumbling and Germany's biggest companies slashing their profit forecasts this year, there are growing signs that the country's business boom is coming to an end.

Google tax alternative

Scholz wants minimum corporate tax rate in OECD

Germany's finance minister has proposed introducing a standard to combat tax avoidance – and serve as a replacement for the EU's planned digital tax.

variable compensation

Commerzbank eliminates most individual bonuses in revamp

Germany’s second-largest bank seeks to boost morale with a streamlined plan that rewards whole departments instead of individuals.

Financial protection

Germany prepares emergency laws to cope with hard Brexit

Berlin is bracing for the fallout of a no-deal Brexit by drafting legislation to shield Germany’s insurance and derivatives markets. The move is being coordinated with several other EU members.

life insurance in germany

millennial market

Finally, German insurers offer flexible life insurance for younger customers

Life insurance policies that let clients change and suspend premium payments have been available in other countries for years, but they don’t come cheap.

Accounting tricks

Auditors take Berlin to task over budget

Germany's government is headed for another tidy budget surplus this year. Yet federal auditors are not at all happy with Berlin’s budget policy, as an internal report shows.

Rome alone

Germany’s finance minister slams Italian budget

Italy must deal with its huge pile of debt on its own and cannot expect to shift responsibility to its European partners, Olaf Scholz told Handelsblatt.

Seeding startups

Germany, wary of falling behind, dips a toe into public venture capital

The German government seeks to invigorate its startup scene with a state-run venture capital firm, set up with funds from the Marshall Plan.

roller coaster

Stock market volatility shows fragility of German economy

Plunging share prices, multiple profit warnings and the waning DAX point to risks roiling Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

Cash-free

Wirecard is transforming Germany, one mobile payment at a time

The new kid on the DAX has big ambitions. It aims to multiply its stock-market value by four. Tougher still, the fintech wants to wean its countrymen off cash.

low interest rates

KfW says corporate loans are up but sounds alarm on why

The KfW reconstruction bank said it's loaning out more than expected and for the wrong reasons, even in the face of a potential downturn.

Withdrawal symptoms

As end to ECB bond-buying looms, shifting sands for investors

The final phase-out of the European Central Bank's controversial economic stimulus is underway. What are the consequences for financial markets?

deutsche bank flag logo

Revenue growth

Investment revamp at Deutsche Bank puts focus on customers

Deutsche Bank, once the undisputed market leader, desperately needs to keep its corporate and institutional investment clients happy.

Payment Void

German banks pull plug on trade with Iran

Despite Berlin's pledge to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive, German banks are so scared of breaching US sanctions that they are refusing to process payments from Iran.

Dubious deals

Macquarie CEO Moore likely a suspect in German tax investigation

German prosecutors want to question the outgoing CEO of Australian investment bank Macquarie, Nicholas Moore, and his successor. Tax avoidance deals were approved at the bank’s highest levels, Handelsblatt learned.

Two cents' worth

Shareholders to get say on board pay

A new law will give investors the right to vote on the salaries of executive and supervisory board members of listed companies, and promises to improve transparency among shareholders.

ethical investing

Germany, France, BlackRock launch fund to save the planet

A new fund will combat climate change with investment in sustainable projects after the US pulled out of the Paris accord.

Forecasts cut

German economic institutes warn of recession if trade dispute worsens

Just as exporters were reveling over their robust performance over the summer, a major economic report highlights Germany's vulnerability to Trump's trade war.