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Operating environment

Report on expected developments – developments in the operating environment

Macroeconomic environment

Deutsche Börse Group anticipates that the global economy will grow moderately during the forecast period. In the case of the emerging markets, the Group expects that countries with a current account surplus will expand at an above-average rate. Due to cyclical as well as structural factors, these countries will no longer be able to match the high growth rates seen in the past. Moreover, the Group predicts that economic growth in the industrialised nations will continue to recover after a number of difficult years following the financial crisis. However, growth is likely to be lower than expected in 2015, mainly reflecting lower growth than expected in the US, due to the stronger US dollar. With respect to Europe, the Group is also forecasting a slight improvement in the economic situation, in particular because southern European countries such as Spain have shown a marked recovery. In view of this essentially positive situation, the company expects participants to place confidence in the capital markets at a level similar to that of the previous year. However, current uncertainties could unsettle the markets again. These include geopolitical crises, the development of the commodities prices, the monetary policy adopted by the Fed in the US and the ECB in Europe or a crisis of confidence in the growth of certain emerging market countries, especially in Asia. Regarding interest rate trends, the Group does not expect to see any fundamental departure from the current low interest rate policy in Europe. In December 2015, the ECB announced an extension of its bond-buying programme until March 2017 and a deposit rate reduction to –0.3 per cent. This additional capital market liquidity should continue to have a positive effect on trading volumes on the cash and derivatives markets. The turnaround in US interest rates materialised at the end of 2015, as expected. Given the slowdown in economic growth, the company does not expect any further hikes for the time being.

In its economic development forecast for 2016 published in January 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts an increase of around 1.7 per cent in the euro zone and growth of around 1.7 per cent in Germany. Expectations for the United Kingdom and the United States are slightly higher than for the euro zone: the UK economy is forecast to grow by around 2.2 per cent in 2016 and the US by around 2.6 per cent. The highest growth by far in 2016 – approximately 6.3 per cent – is again expected in Asian countries (and especially China), due to high domestic demand. Given the extremely varied estimates for the different economic regions, global economic growth is projected to be around 3.4 per cent in 2016.

Regulatory environment

Governments and central banks are currently working to enhance regulation of the financial markets so as to further stabilise the financial sector and prevent future crises of the magnitude experienced. The measures planned, and in some cases already initiated, range from revising the legal framework for banking business and capital adequacy requirements through rules for clearing OTC derivatives transactions down to improving financial market supervision (for more information, please see the “Regulatory environment” section of the report on economic position). For Deutsche Börse Group’s customers, the ultimate impact of these far-reaching regulatory reform projects on market structures and business models is difficult to gauge accurately at present. Deutsche Börse anticipates that this uncertainty will continue to weigh on market participants’ business activities during the forecast period. For the Group itself, the various regulatory projects will have both positive and negative consequences. Overall, however, the Group sees the changing regulatory environment as an opportunity to expand its business further; see the report on opportunities for further details.

In addition to the structural opportunities arising from regulation, the Group expects to see further debate in the forecast period on the potential introduction of a financial transaction tax. The introduction of a financial transaction tax will continue to be pursued in 2016 by a number of EU member states, which have formed an alliance to achieve greater cooperation. The introduction of such a tax would negatively impact Deutsche Börse Group’s business performance. Since the ten member states concerned have been unable to date to reach agreement on the tax base, tax rates and technical collection and remittance methods, it is not possible to gauge the concrete impact on the Group’s business.