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Financial markets in Germany - statistics & facts

While Germany is by far the largest economy by GDP in Europe, several of its financial markets are actually smaller than those of neighbors France and the UK. For example, Germany has the eighth-highest share of global equity markets, while the UK is third and France fifth. In part this is for cultural reasons: German retail investors are often more hesitant to invest in stocks than in countries like the United Kingdom or United States; and have less need to do so owing to Germany’s more generous government pensions. But another reason for this may lie in the nature of the Germany economy itself – the contribution of manufacturing to total GDP is proportionally larger in Germany than other countries, lessening the centrality of the stock market for generating revenue (compared to countries with a high portion of financial services companies like the UK).

The Frankfurt Stock Exchange: Germany’s primary stock exchange

Despite being relatively smaller than in some other major economies, the total market capitalization of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange amounts to around two trillion euros, placing it just outside the 10 largest stock exchanges worldwide. Two main trading venues comprise the Frankfurt Stock Exchange: the traditional trading floor of the Börse Frankfurt, and the Xetra electronic trading system. The latter accounts for the vast majority of trading volume on Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The DAX index value is the main indicator of German companies’ share prices, being comprised of the 30 largest companies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by market capitalization. Included in the DAX are household names like carmakers Volkswagen and Daimler, sporting goods company adidas, insurer Allianz, and industrial companies Siemens and BASF.

Frankfurt is continental Europe’s most important financial hub

While Germany’s domestic financial markets may not be the largest in Europe, the economic integration created by the euro makes Frankfurt one of the most important financial hubs in the Western Europe. Frankfurt is not only home to Germany’s primary equity market, but two major central banks: the German ‘Bundesbank’, and the European Central Bank. Part of Frankfurt’s importance comes from its role as a trading hub for capital and money markets. For example, trading of the two trillion euros of outstanding German government debt is managed in the city. But just as important is the regulatory role Frankfurt plays in deciding German and euro-level monetary policy. For example, while the billions of euros transacted daily in interbank lending in the eurozone flows freely across national borders, Frankfurt is home to the regulatory apparatus governing this crucial pan-European market.


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