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Business development

Market environment

Demand for mobility

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic declined significantly in the first half of 2022. The milder disease process of the Omicron variant, combined with the vaccine progress, required fewer restrictions on public life and had a positive effect on economic development. At the same time, the market environment was noticeably burdened by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. As a result, the environmental conditions developed to varying degrees. Demand in the area of mobility rose significantly as a result of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, but was still below pre-Covid-19 levels. In the case of private travel, the desire to travel and visit that had built up over the winter had a strengthening effect on the positive development of mobility. In freight transport, the increase in demand, which was still significant at the beginning of the year, was significantly dampened from March 2022. With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, growth in global industrial production and trade weakened, resulting in rail freight transport also being noticeably affected by the repercussions.

Global economy

The global economy has grown due to a further recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2022, particularly due to an increase in private consumption. However, global economic growth was significantly reduced by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Rising energy prices as a result of the war also had an increasing effect on the already high level of inflation rates, and dampened growth. The recovery in global value-added chains, which was still expected at the beginning of 2022, has been further delayed by the outbreak of war and regional shutdowns in China due to the zero-Covid strategy. These disruptive factors also have a noticeable impact on the global trade in goods. As a result, congestion at ports are increasing, for example, and global trade remains unbalanced. Renewed disruptions in global supply chains are having a dampening effect on industrial production, after a slow recovery in the event of bottlenecks was still expected at the beginning of the year 2022.

Apart from the parties directly involved in the war, the war in Ukraine is also having a major impact on the European Economic Area. In particular, the high levels of dependency on energy and raw material imports dampened economic development in Europe. In addition to the increased cost pressure, the high level of uncertainty regarding future developments also led to a lower willingness to invest among companies. By contrast, the increase in private consumption, especially in the service sector, had a positive effect. The re­laxing of restrictions relating to Covid-19 compared to the previous spring and winter of 2021 served as key drivers of growth.

Energy markets

The central hedging policy of DB Group aims to reduce the impact of energy price fluctuations. Our activities are therefore not exposed to the full impact of changes in market prices, at least not in the short term.


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Source: Thomson Reuters

Oil prices continued to rise significantly in the first half of 2022. The main reasons for this were the end of Covid-19 restrictions worldwide, the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia by the majority of Western countries. A scarce supply of crude oil contrasted with robust demand. In addition, the euro depreciated against the US dollar, making the price of imported crude oil more expensive.

Fuel prices in Germany in the first half of 2022 were about 35% higher than in the previous year. Despite temporary energy tax cuts, fuel prices continued to rise in 2022 as a result of oil price developments, a further increase in CO₂ tax and adverse currency effects.

Rising fuel prices usually strengthen the competitiveness of rail in comparison to cars. However, given the lingering effect of the Covid-19 restrictions and the associated preference for more individual means of transport (due to the smaller amount of contact involved), the development of fuel prices is currently of minor importance for passengers choosing their method of transport. However, further significant increases in fuel prices in 2022 will continue to dampen the expected increase in performance of private motorized transport and will favor a shift towards rail.


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Prices on the futures market for electricity increased extraordinarily steeply in the first half of 2022. The most important price drivers were the prices for emissions allowances (European allowances as part of the European Emissions Trading System) and the price increase for natural gas. In DB Group’s operating business our hedging activities have had a strong dampening effect to date.

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