Category Archives: economy

26/10/20: ifo Institute: German Economic Conditions Deteriorated in October

ifo Institute's latest Business Climate survey data for Germany is pointing to continued weakness in the recovery momentum:

Notably, all four sectors covered remain under water:

Current conditions are deteriorating month-on-month in two sectors, expectations have deteriorated in all four sectors.

4/10/20: Technological Deepening Is Coming for Our Jobs


In my recent article for The Currency (link here:, I argued that COVID19 will act as an accelerator of technological capital deepening in the modern economies, with a resulting faster displacement of workers (including highly skilled ones) by technology. 

McKinsey survey of the developing trends in businesses strategic responses to the pandemic confirms my hypothesis:

Per above, across all sectors, and (peer charts below) across specific sectors, businesses are planning to prioritize deployment of technology in addressing long-term change in response to the current pandemic. 

McKinsey state that "Fifty-five percent of leaders anticipate that at least half of their organization’s workforce will be fully or partially remote postcrisis. While the expectations vary widely by industry—from 69 percent predicting this level of remote work in technology, telecommunications, and media to 43 percent in advanced industries—even in the industries where manufacturing, patient care, and sales transactions often require people at offices, stores, plants, and other company facilities, a significant portion of the workforce may be partially or fully remote." Source: And "Our survey results show that executives are focused on three courses of action ... making good decisions more quickly, improving communication and collaboration, and making greater use of technology."

25/8/20: Germany’s Economic Recovery: ifo Survey

ifo Institute's latest economic barometer for Germany is showing continued signs of recovery in the German economy, with remaining pressures in terms of current assessment of business conditions and more positive outlook forward (expectations):

Business expectations are now ahead of the same for December 2019 - February 2020 pre-pandemic period, which really says little about the levels of activity expected and more about the speed of adjustments to the expected activity. What matters more is the current climate perception. This is still some 11 points below the three months prior to the pandemic.

Given that German economy has largely moved past the stage of restricted activity, this is worrying, as it suggests the lack of domestic demand recovery in the medium term.

19/8/20: The VUCA World of World Trade


WTO projections for global merchandise trade by volume:

Let's take a closer look. Optimistic scenario is for a 13% y/y drop in merchandise trade flows. Pessimistic one is for a 30% drop. Swing is 17 percentage points. These are not forecasts, but are uncertain guesses. We are in a VUCA world, folks.

Let's take a second look: COVID19 shock will be permanent (new trend line post-recovery is permanently below old trendline and flatter) with a minor impact post-2022 that will compound over longer period of time. In pessimistic scenario, the impact appears to be also permanent, but seriously severe.

On a linear trend projection, pre-2008 consistent trend would have left us at around 155 index reading in 2022. 2009-2019 trend would have gotten us to around 122 index reading. Optimistic scenario would leave us around 119 in 2022; pessimistic - at around 95. Wait... optimistic gap for COVID19 and GFC impacts to no GFC and no COVID19 impact is... 33 points! One third of 2015 annual level of trade activity. GFC but no-COVID19 gap to pre-2008 is between 36 points and 60 points. 

And the final look: notice 2019 line... it is virtually flat. As WTO notes (see Chart 4 here: there was, basically, no growth in trade in 2019, before the COVID19 hit. 

We are in a VUCA world, folks.