Morning Briefing: Fog not only hovers in the treetops, but also over the forecasts

On Boxing Day I once again experienced what, for lack of a better term, I like to call the “Germany feeling”: A long freeway drive back from the relatives. The names of the low mountain ranges change, the view remains the same: winter-bare forests, the trunks black with wetness. Wisps of mist hang in the treetops. Wind turbines stir through the December twilight, the pylons of the truck stops shine at the exits. And on the radio, the “beep-beep-beep” from Deutschlandfunk marks the passing hours.

Do you know this mood? And if so, do you have a better name for it? Then please let me know!

A suitable name is still missing for the strangely ambiguous mood that prevails in business and politics shortly before the turn of the year: The caste of pandemic experts warns in unison of the huge wave of omicrons that will sweep Germany within the coming weeks.

In heroic selflessness, the German Teachers’ Association demanded again yesterday, Sunday, that politics should not hold on to face-to-face teaching at any cost and instead brought it up against them the newspapers of the editorial network Germany talked about a “short, hard lockdown” of the schools.

The German Teachers’ Association brings a “short, hard lockdown” of schools into discussion.

At the same time, however, the incidences that the federal government has are falling reached one of her self-set vaccination goals by Christmas. The intensive care units are emptying again and German companies are looking to the new year with unusual confidence: None of the 48 business associations surveyed by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) at the turn of the year anticipates a decline in production or business.

That has never happened before and shows the extraordinarily high expectations for the economy. According to IW boss Michael Hüther, this is due to catch-up effects in view of the pandemic and delivery delays as well as historically high order backlogs.

With so much optimism on the part of companies, Claudia Buch’s statements almost seem like a prophylactic call for order: Last week, the Bundesbank’s deputy head pointed out that the pandemic had not yet been overcome – and warned commercial banks in particular against being too careless.

Commerzbank boss Manfred Knof sees himself on course with the restructuring of the bank, but fears difficult framework conditions in 2022.

(Photo: Commerzbank AG Pavel Becker Pavel Becker / Commerzbank AG)

At least Commerzbank boss Manfred Knof does not have to be accused of having an inappropriate party mood. “2022 will not only be a challenging year because of the corona crisis,” he warns in an interview with Handelsblatt. “Inflation is weighing on many of our customers, especially the rise in energy and property prices.” In addition, there are still supply chain problems and major geopolitical risks as a result of the pandemic.

The realization: Seldom has the view of a half-full glass been so different from looking at the half-empty one – depending on whether you look at the level from the perspective of a banker, an industrialist or an epidemiologist.

Or like it Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), expresses in his guest article for the Handelsblatt: “Once again, all forecasts will not be worth the paper on which they are written.”

More and more investors are drawing drastic consequences from the growing economic uncertainties: They have given up the belief that their investments will outperform the market as a whole.

And they distrust the highly paid mutual fund managers who promise them that. Instead, the run on exchange-traded index funds (ETF), which only passively track a specific stock market index, is bigger than ever.

My colleague Ingo Narat did some research: According to estimates by the Morningstar fund agency, investors in Europe had invested 151 billion euros in ETFs until mid-December. That is almost 50 percent more than last year.

Almost three quarters of the new money in Europe went into products on stock indices. In Germany, savings plans are driving more and more business. “For many private individuals, this is the perfect solution for their own provision, and there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area,” believes Ali Masarwah, an analyst at the fund platform Envestor.

Desmond Tutu died yesterday in South Africa at the age of 90. The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town received the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against racial segregation.

Tutu would have deserved a second Nobel Prize for proving to the world that a great mission and high ecclesiastical office do not have to go hand in hand with corresponding bombast. Tutu was a short man full of warmth and wit. He liked to quote the saying: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. Then we closed our eyes to pray, and when we opened them again we had the Bible and they had the land. “

South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu has died at the age of 90.

Our South Africa correspondent Wolfgang Drechsler also recalls a page by Desmond Tutu in his obituary, which is neglected in expressions of mourning from all over the world (Pope, Queen, Federal President): That Tutu in his later years had become a critic of the corrupt South African ruling party ANC.

And then there is another servant in the Lord’s Vineyard: the Nuremberg Jesuit Father Jörg Alt, who has an appointment with his lawyer on Monday. Reason: A preliminary investigation into “particularly serious theft” that Alt learned of on the day before Christmas Eve, according to his own admission. Old does God’s work in an unusual way: He contains. At night, the priest climbs over the fences of supermarkets, searches for discarded but still edible food in rubbish bins and distributes it to those in need.

This may be covered by the Christian spirit of charity, but not by the penal code. Alt is backing an indictment against himself to denounce food waste and, in the end, maybe even legalize containers. “I’m looking forward to the hearing,” the contentious Jesuit announced via Twitter.

At Handelsblatt, we think: In the fight against delivery bottlenecks, even unusual strategies deserve recognition.

I wish you a day when you overcome all fences.

Best regards

Christian Rickens
Textchef Handelsblatt

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