Morning Briefing Global Edition

Berlin Believes in Magic

rabbit and hat
Do German taxpayers remember where that bunny came from?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition gives you an overview of the most important news from Germany and Europe – in a concise, two-minute read.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Monsanto is valued at $42 billion.
    • Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan has admitted the bank remains caught up in 7,800 legal cases.
    • Support for Germany’s conservative political bloc is approaching 30 percent, according to Forsa polling, while backing for Social Democrats has fallen below 20 percent.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Hillary Clinton may still need to win over voters, but in her own head, she’s already moving into the White House. In a CNN interview yesterday, she crowned herself Democratic nominee, Bernie or no Bernie Sanders: “I will be the nominee of our party. There is no way I won’t be.”

Then, she turned her sights to Donald Trump: “He is not qualified to be president of the United States.” Trump threw the charge right back at her. Get ready electorate: “Na na na na naaa. I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

 

Wolfgang Schäuble will be the odd man out at this week’s G7 finance ministers’ meeting in Japan. Germany’s finance minister plans to call for more restraint and austerity and warn against the repercussions of lax monetary policy.

There’s just one problem: He’s the only one who feels that way. In particular Japan and the United States are calling for more debt-financed growth in the G7. But Schäuble won’t let that deter him. He’s used to being the lone Wolfgang.

 

But Schäuble won’t let that deter him. He’s used to being the lone Wolfgang.

The Turkish nightmare continues: Binali Yildirim, a man once chased out of political office for corruption, is the country’s new prime minister. The Erdoğan devotee supports his vision of creating a Turkish presidential system – with handcuffed democracy, government-controlled media and increased autocratic power.

Viewed that way, the headlines today are all wrong: The new guy isn’t the government head, but the one who will outsource government to Erdoğan.

 

A year and a half before the next election, Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats and Chancellor Merkel are busy sweet-talking key voting blocs. Retirees, the auto industry and the military industrial complex are getting billions in new subsidies – to help them overlook the government’s botched handling of the refugee crisis.

Handelsblatt Global Edition today tells you about politicians who have switched from dealing with issues to dealing out euros. But we know full well: Those rabbits being pulled out of Berlin’s hat were put in there by the taxpayer.

 

At yesterday’s Deutsche Bank annual shareholders’ meeting, supervisory board chief Paul Achleitner faced stiff headwind. Shareholders blasted the bank’s strategy, an eleventh-hour reshuffling of the management board and a very public spat over a supervisory board member who asked uncomfortable questions.

Achleitner braved the brickbats and demonstrated what you expect from an executive who refuses to bow: staying power.

 

Top Teutonic earners tend to go for understatement, not bling. The trend has a name: stealth wealth.

The team around former Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers often lusted after U.S. seed and chemicals maker Monsanto, but Dekkers applied the brakes to an acquisition. His successor of less than two months, Werner Baumann, wasted no time this week submitting a €50-billion takeover bid. That would make it the biggest ever by a German company.

But the stock market is wired like Dekkers and sent Bayer’s shares down 7 percent. Which raises a question about the new guy, Mr. Baumann: Strategist or foolhardy risk-taker?

 

In Germany, if you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it. Only boorish reality TV stars pose with shiny Ferraris and polo shirts with in-your-face logos. Top Teutonic earners tend to go for understatement, not bling. The trend has a name: stealth wealth.

Even the younger generation has bought into it, claiming they are focused on quality of life. Looks like MasterCard hit it on the head in its ad campaign: There are some things money really can’t buy.

 

My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition is an e-mail newsletter sent to your inbox at around 6 a.m. each weekday Wall Street time. It gives you the most important news from Germany and Europe. To reach me: g.steingart@vhb.de

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