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German Financial System - FESSUD

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German Financial System - FESSUD

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, Germany Guarantees by SoFFin, Germany, Primary gross income of the household sector by type, Germany, — Net saving of the household sector, Germany, — Propensity to save out of monthly disposable income by income group, Germany Real GDP growth contribution of private consumption, Germany, — Net-acquisition of financial assets by the households sector, Germany, — Financial assets of private households, Germany, — Assets and liabilities of households, Germany, - Residential property prices, - Loans to households by type, Germany, — DAX, Germany, - Ownership structure of the housing stock, Germany, Gross value added by sector, Germany, — Employment by sector, Germany, — Real estate construction, Germany, — Contribution of real estate construction to the growth of nominal GDP, Germany Mortgage loans outstanding to dom.

Total private investment in construction, in machinery and equipment and in other products, Germany, — BulwienGesa property market index, Germany, — Housing loans to dom. Total equity and net-equity acquisition of open public real estate funds, Germany Income shares, Germany, Income shares in the non-financial corporate sector, Germany, Income shares in the financial corporate sector, Germany, Net value added of non-financial corporations, US and Germany, — Gini coefficients for market and disposable income, Germany, Growth of mean real income across different income deciles, Germany The top decile income share, Germany, The top 1 per cent income share in market income and its composition, Germany, Investment, profits, and share prices, Germany, — Sectoral financial balances, Germany, — Loans of German banks to foreign banks and non-banks, — Key interest rates, ECB vs.

Fed, — ECB key interest rate and inflation, Euro Area, - Government budget balance and output gap, Germany, — Government budget balance and output gap, Euro Area EU , — Government budget balance and output gap, US, — Share of bank business, Germany, — Household gross debt and net wealth, Banks by banking group, Germany, — The 50 largest banks, Germany, Number of shareholders, Germany, — Lending by banks in Germany to Europe, — Bank regulation, Germany, — Herfindahl Indices, — CR5, — Bank margins, Germany, — Market structure in IPO underwriting, Germany, — Market structure of euro-denominated bond underwriting, Germany, Distribution of profits and financing of gross investment of non-financial corporations Table Sources of investment finance of SMEs by number of employees, Germany, Average equity ratio of medium-sized companies by number of employees, Germany.

Equity ratios of medium-sized companies sales: Share ownership by sector Germany, Attempts of hostile takeovers, Earnings and dividends of Landesbanken, Germany, — Measures in response to financial crisis, Germany, - April Housing status of households, Germany, — Payment cards issued by function, Germany, — Over-indebtedness of private households, Germany, — Composition of the real estate stock by type, Germany, Employment and value added in the real estate sector, Germany, Indices and nominal changes of real estate and consumer prices, Germany Institutional differences in nat.

Shares of the general government in nom. Gini coefficients for market and disposable income, selected countries Financialisation and the gross profit share Real GDP growth, — Key macroeconomic variables, Germany Unemployment rate, — Stabilisation aid of SoFFin, Germany, Budgetary effects of fiscal packages and additional measures, Germany, The first is that Germany is a prime example of a bank based financial system.

A major role was played by large joint-stock banks which were established in the early s and the early s. The second key feature is that, in addition to profit-oriented commercial banks, the German financial system has also included two other sectors that are not primarily motivated by making a profit, namely the publiclyowned savings banks, and the cooperative banks. By the German banking system consisted of a private sector, dominated by eight big banks, a large public savings bank sector, and a somewhat smaller cooperative sector.

In the s, the big private banks faced major challenges from inflation and competition from foreign banks, and three big banks emerged as a result of mergers and failures. At the end of the Second World War, the three big private banks were broken up because of their complicity in German war crimes but, following successful lobbying, were allowed to re-establish themselves as unified institutions in the s. The growth in finance and its role in the decades of financialisation The value of financial assets in the German economy grew rapidly in the s, both in absolute terms as well as relative to GDP.

While in the s the ratio of financial assets to GDP grew on average by 1. The activity of banks, as measured by the ratio of deposits, bank loans and securities held by banks to GDP, also grew strongly in the later period. At the same time the size and activity of financial markets has grown, although to a lesser extent.

Despite the growth of financial markets, however, they are still rather underdeveloped by international comparison. From until , however, the 19 share in value added remained relatively stable, but with quite large short-term fluctuations, while the share in employment declined slightly. More significant changes can be observed in the non-financial corporate sector. Non-financial corporations have increased the share of their investments assigned to financial assets; a larger part of their profits has been generated from financial sources; and the share of their earnings distributed to financial investors has increased.

The household sector, unlike in many other developed countries, has not shown a tendency towards increasing indebtedness. Rather, private households have shown a tendency to hold a larger part of their savings in more risky, marketable assets, substituting investment fund shares, and direct holdings of shares and bonds for claims against banks and insurance companies.

Institutional investors grew rapidly in the decade from to However, their size is still small by international comparison. Over all, the data and comparisons suggest that the growth of finance is a quite recent and still relatively modest phenomenon in Germany.

The structure of the German financial system The German financial system has historically been a prime example of a bank-based system although, in contrast to most other developed capitalist countries, a significant part of the banking system has consisted of publically-owned savings banks and cooperative banks that are not driven primarily by the search for profits. Big private banks had traditionally functioned as house banks to big industrial companies, but investment and borrowing by industry declined after the s.

In the mids, the big private banks responded by promoting the development of securities markets in Germany with the aim of increasing their earnings from investment banking activities. This has resulted in some strengthening of the role of securities markets since the s, although banks continue to occupy a predominant position in the German financial system. Amongst non-bank financial institutions, insurance companies have historically been the most significant, although investment funds expanded very rapidly in the s, and are now almost as large.

Pension funds have been much less significant. Highly leveraged financial institutions, such as hedge funds and private equity funds, have also had a relatively limited presence in Germany. Between the late s and , when Germany generated a large current account surplus, international financial integration increased strongly, with a marked growth of both portfolio investment and bank lending from Germany to other countries.

The bank lending was predominantly to other European countries, with the largest part going to euro area countries. German banks also extended their lending in the US during this period and, in addition to funds from Germany, German banks drew extensively on funds raised in the US itself.

As a result, German banks were strongly exposed to the financial crisis when it broke in the US in Following the dramatic deepening of the crisis in September , German international financial integration was partly scaled back and German banks reduced their lending abroad at the same time that there was an outflow of foreign funds held in German banks.

However, as a result of increased international financial uncertainty following the outbreak of the financial crisis, there was a large inflow of funds from other countries into German government bonds, which consequently registered unprecedentedly low interest rates.

European financial integration In the s, lending by banks in Germany to other countries increased but was rather limited, and less than half the lending was to countries in the EU. Some two thirds of lending to EU countries was to euro area countries, and much of the remaining third was to Britain, reflecting the role of London as an international financial centre, where German banks conduct much of their international business.

Lending by banks in Germany to other euro area core countries increased strongly from the mid s to but, following the deepening of the financial crisis, it ceased to increase further and remained around the same level until By contrast, while lending to countries in the euro area periphery increased even more strongly up to , this was followed by a marked process of disengagement from , when the debt crisis first broke in the euro area, and by lending to the peripheral euro area countries had fallen by almost a half.

While small net balances were also built up by Finland, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, the deficits were at first primarily due to Ireland, Greece and Portugal, 21 but since these have been eclipsed by the negative balances accumulated by Italy and especially Spain. Financial market regulation in Germany The regulatory regime in Germany from the s, when a wide range of new measures were introduced, up to the s could be characterised as a stakeholder-oriented and bank-based model.

Regulations stabilised the widespread system of house-banks and the extensive cross-holdings of shares between big financial and industrial companies. Formally, a universal banking system existed, but investment banking was in practice unimportant. From , Germany initiated changes that aimed to move the financial system in the direction of a more Anglo-Saxon type system. Regulatory changes aimed at strengthening the power of shareholders, and at limiting the influence of banks. The regulatory changes were promoted by German governments in an attempt to strengthen the position of Germany as a host for international financial markets, and by the European Commission, which pushed for financial market harmonisation in Europe as part of a neoliberal agenda.

However, the German financial system has not changed substantially. Although Germany has clearly been moving away from a purely bank-based model, it has not adopted a market-based one. Although the legal changes would have permitted the development of a much more capital-market based system, this has not happened. The nature and degree of competition At a national level, concentration measures and the number of independent organisations indicate a very low level of concentration in the German banking sector.

However, if the cooperative and the public sectors are each considered as large, single institutions, concentration ratios are much higher. The interest margins of German banks are slightly higher than in some other developed capitalist countries, such as Japan and France, but since margins have shown a downward trend.

This can 22 be related to increased competitive pressure in the deposit market due to the entrance of new financial institutions, in particular money market funds. At a regional level, concentration is considerably higher. Focusing on big cities and measuring competition by the number of branches in a certain area, savings banks and cooperative banks are the main players in the retail markets, while the big German banks are fringe players.

Before the market for investment banking services was small, highly concentrated and dominated by German-owned banks. The entrance of these new competitors led to a decline in the concentration ratios. However, the market for large IPOs today is dominated by a relatively small number of international investment banks, and only two German banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, belong to the big players. The profitability of the financial sector The profitability of German banks, measured by the rate of return on equity or on assets, has been low by international comparison since the early Pre-tax profitability tended to fall from the early s until the recent crisis, although after-tax profitability did not.

The pre-tax profitability of the cooperative banking sector has been higher than that of the private banking sector, with the latter being far more volatile.

It has also been higher than that of the public savings banks because of the particularly low profitability of the Landesbanken. After-tax profitability converges and private banks gain relatively most from government re-distribution. The profit share of the financial corporate sector has shown no pronounced trend since the early s, but has fluctuated quite widely, with major declines during the crisis in the early s and the most recent financial and economic crisis.

The profit share of the non-financial corporate sector started from a lower level in the early s, but then showed a tendency to rise until the recent crisis with only minor fluctuations. Since the early s, it has exceeded the profit share of the financial corporate sector. The rate of return of the financial corporate sector has shown a falling trend, as with the case of the banking sector. Although the financial and the non-financial sectors had similar rates of return on equity in the early s, in contrast to the financial sector, the rate of return tended to rise in the non-financial sector until the recent crisis.

The efficiency of the financial sector The evidence regarding the efficiency of the German system is mixed. For international comparisons, it is important to note that a large part of the German system consists of savings and cooperative banks that do not aim at maximising profits. Hence, profit efficiency may be lower than for countries which have only profit-oriented banks. Savings banks use part of their surplus to promote community activities and are also obliged to provide financial services to all customers, regardless of the profitability of the business relationship.

Additionally, it seems that savings banks lend at rates below those charged by the private and cooperative banks. The primary aim of cooperative banks, in turn, is to benefit their customers and members. Studies that compare efficiency among different parts of the banking system at the national level find that local banks from all groups private, cooperative and public seem to be superior to the big nationally active banks in terms of efficiency.

Among local banks, public and cooperative banks are found to be more efficient than private banks. There is therefore no evidence that opening up the public sector for private capital would improve the efficiency of the German banking system. Studies which investigate the possible sources of inefficiency of banks find that the suboptimal size of German banks is not a significant factor.

Furthermore, since the optimal size for banks is not known, and the threshold where risk-return decisions are found to deteriorate is rather low, there is little evidence that a consolidation strategy would improve efficiency. There is also no evidence for the existence of significant economies of scope. This indicates that a separation of investment and commercial banking would not have a negative effect on efficiency. From until , however, in addition to households, non-financial corporations also generated financial surpluses, and the surpluses were employed to finance the government deficit and rising financial investment in the rest of the world.

Since , the scale of the financial flows has declined somewhat, but households and non-financial corporations have continued to supply funds, while the government and the foreign sector has continued to absorb them.

Households place a large part of their financial surplus with intermediaries, in particular banks and insurance companies, and to a lesser extent investment companies. It is therefore these intermediaries who have been primarily responsible for deciding how to allocate the funds between 24 different forms of financial investment, and who may therefore have been in a position to have exercised an influence over corporate governance.

In the early s, the most important shareholders in companies were non-financial corporations, but such cross-holdings subsequently declined quite strongly. The second most important shareholders were households, although their holdings also declined subsequently, partly due to a shift towards indirect holdings through institutional investors.

The most striking increase in shareholdings has been that by foreign investors, whose holdings increased substantially between and in As in other countries, internal means of finance are the most important source of investment finance for German corporations; the contributions of equity issues have historically been negligible and they have been negative since the mid s, indicating share buybacks in this period.

Bank credit, which is the major external source of finance in Germany, as well as corporate bond issues, were not necessary for real investment finance but have been used for the acquisition of financial assets since the mid s.

SMEs and non-corporate firms also finance investment predominantly from internal sources, albeit to a lower degree than non-financial corporations. Periods of high investment are associated with increasing credit and increasing debt-capital ratios and vice versa. The increase was a little smaller than in Europe as a whole, and much smaller than in the USA or Britain.

This was supported by the policies of the German government and the European Commission. These developments involved moderate changes rather than a decisive leap towards a liberal market economic model with easy and frequent takeovers. Hostile takeovers have not been very common in Germany and, if they take place, they are generally of a more of a managed type, involving a compromise between all the stakeholders.

Privatisation and the financial sector The structure of the German banking system, involving private, public and cooperative banks, has not changed significantly in recent years, despite some pressure for liberalisation and privatisation. In other sectors of the economy, however, privatisation has had an impact. In quantitative terms, the post-unification wave of privatisations in East Germany was the most important.

It was organised by the federal agency Treuhandanstalt, whose aims were to save as much as possible of East German industry.

The Treuhandanstalt created supervisory boards for companies, searched for prospective buyers interested in long-term company growth, and also guaranteed post-privatisation participation in both funding and restructuring. Another important field for privatisation concerned public utilities. This was in part motivated by a desire to either raise revenue or to sell off loss-making units, and in part a response to European Commission directives. Privatisation has affected former state monopolies such as the postal, telecommunications and, to some extent, transport sectors.

The health-care sector was never a state monopoly, but public hospitals have been increasingly privatised since the early s. The process 26 of privatisation has created new markets where financial institutions have been able to expand their activities. The process of privatisation has been partially reversed since the onset of the most recent crisis, as several privately-owned financial institutions were either partly or completely nationalised. Several Landesbanken also required considerable government support.

The financial sector and private households — culture and norms of the financial system After a decline in the private saving rate during the s, the average propensity to save out of disposable income has increased since the new economy crisis. The main reasons for this increase were as follows: The savings of private households are directed mainly to deposit and saving accounts with banks, and to policies with private insurance and pension funds.

The significance of shares and investment funds increased during the new economy boom in the second half of the s, but has since returned to the level of the early s. The relationship of the total financial assets held by private households to nominal GDP has seen a tendency to increase since the early , as has the relationship of real estate wealth to GDP. However, financial and real estate wealth are extremely unequally distributed and inequality increased in the early s.

Financial liabilities tended to increase slightly in relation to disposable income in the course of the s, but then declined somewhat between the new economy crisis and the Great Recession, and are still low by international comparison.

However, low income households are increasingly facing serious problems of over-indebtedness. While the main component of household debt is housing loans, loans for consumption are of minor importance in the aggregate.

The real estate sector and its relation to the financial sector In Germany, unlike many other countries, a real estate bubble did not develop in the s. The stability of the German real estate market is the result of a combination of specific institutional features.

Firstly, government intervention in the real estate sector led to a diversified supply of 27 housing in all housing segments. Although the government has reduced its active role in the sector in recent decades, the established structures continue to prevail. There was a sufficient supply of rental dwellings, so that households only decided to purchase their own homes when it appeared beneficial.

Secondly, a relatively conservative system of real estate financing has contributed to the stable development of the real estate market. Those factors appear to have reinforced each other and to be beneficial for the system as a whole. The most important financial investors in the real estate market are open or closed real state funds. These have, until now, been relatively unattractive for international investors due to a lack of transparency and the way they are taxed.

While this has meant that less capital has been available, it may have sheltered the German market from foreign capital inflows that could have led to Germany also developing a real estate bubble.

Since the Great Recession there have been signs that a real estate bubble could develop in Germany in the future due to very low interest rates, a distrust of monetary forms of wealth and the limited supply of appropriate property in bigger cities. Inequality and the financial system in Germany Inequality of market incomes as measured by the Gini coefficient started rising following German unification in Since the early s there has also been an increase in inequality in disposable income due to a decline in the real disposable income of the bottom half of the distribution.

Top income shares increased substantially during the s, with a significant contribution of salaried income. High unemployment and low economic growth in Germany during the first half of the s were accompanied by excessive wage moderation, which had major consequences for the low-skilled workforce in particular. This was accentuated by the introduction of measures to deregulate the labour market and the absence of a legal minimum wage.

As a result, since the early s, income dispersion has become very pronounced in Germany. With regard to the functional income distribution, the wage share began to decrease in the mids and the decline was especially marked in the early s. This was due, on the one hand, to the shrinking of the government sector where the profit share is, by definition, zero, and, on the other hand, to the falling wage share in the non-financial corporate sector, while retained earnings and the rentier share increased.

The non-financial sector employs the bulk of the low-skilled workforce, and has been able to increase the share of profits at the expense of wages due to the diminishing power of trade unions following the deregulation of labour markets, and to the threat of outsourcing. Crisis and macroeconomic policies German macroeconomic development prior to the crisis can be characterised as export-led mercantilist, as compared to the debt-led consumption boom or domestic demand-led types of developments in other major countries.

Against this background the foreign trade and the financial market channel of transmission of the crisis to Germany were most important. The foreign trade channel became effective, because the openness of the German economy had rapidly increased since the mids, and the growth of aggregate demand had been driven largely by net exports.

Rising current account surpluses meant an increase in net foreign assets which were mainly held by commercial banks. This made the sector particularly vulnerable to the financial market channel of transmission of the crisis.

Regarding policy reactions towards the crisis, the immediate bailout of the financial sector detained the financial crisis in Germany and prevented a financial meltdown. Our mag drive range of sealless magnetic driven centrifugal pumps offer a clear choice for hard-to-seal chemical handling applications in adherence to the API design standard.

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In quantitative terms, the post-unification wave of privatisations in East Germany was the most important.

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As a result of a process of rationalisation, the number of Sparkassen has declined, from in to in

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