When going overseas, Chancellor Merkel doesn’t leave home without planeloads full of executives from Germany’s most coddled companies – exports being the core of foreign policy. And if these deals get snagged on the rusty nails of payment risks, it’s up to the government to help out with guarantees, even if they’re infested with conflicts.
The nuclear fiasco in Japan has shaken the omnipotent nuclear industry – and government agencies that aided and abetted it. Yet they still obfuscate the consequences of the triple melt-down. Latest revelation: the number of workers at the plant with cancer-inducing radiation doses in thyroid glands was eleven times higher than disclosed last December.
Voestalpine, an Austrian steelmaker with 46,000 employees, saw its revenues decline by 4% last year. It blamed the “cooling down of the global economy,” and “dwindling momentum in Asia (especially China).” Now it’s under pressure to cut costs. Hence offshoring to cheap countries! China or Indonesia? Nope.
Contributed by Christina Macpherson: According to the nuclear industry, the real hurdle to developing nuclear power isn’t cancer, birth defects, genetic instability, risks of nuclear accidents…. It’s simply overcoming the fear of radiation.
Abenomics has its detractors – in peculiar places – and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be experiencing some interesting pillow talk. His wife has attacked one of the major components of his economic policies, the nuclear power industry.
“Yes, the industry is in collapse mode, but it is not all bad, it is just a healthy shakeup needed in a maturing industry,” an insider wrote in an email. Then he offered what he called “a slightly less gloomy take on the industry and with 50% more silver lining as well.”
The solar-panel price war waged by state-subsidized Chinese companies killed a slew of manufacturers worldwide. Now, much of solar-panel manufacturing takes place in China. To stay alive, they cut costs – and corners. Defects are ballooning. And “cheap” solar panels suddenly get very expensive. A cruel twist for an already threatened industry.
The solar-panel industry, once fattened by taxpayer subsidies and false hopes, has been in a death spiral around the world. In the US, a slew of photovoltaic standouts like Solyndra went under, taking billions of subsidies and investor capital with them. In Germany, it has been just as brutal. Even large companies are licking their wounds.
It was announced Friday afternoon, when no one was supposed to pay attention: after years of controversy, heated rhetoric, intense lobbying, and stiff opposition from some unlikely bedfellows, the Obama Administration decided in favor of the US oil and gas industry. With major geopolitical impact.
Where German industrial companies plan to invest: a slew of losers out there, including Germany. But one country stands out … and the reasons why!