Talking point
SME-backed covered bonds: A rising star − just not yet?
SMEs' access to finance problem constitutes a considerable impediment to the recovery in many European countries, therefore prompting calls for policy action. Among the options to spur bank lending to SMEs, covered bonds backed by SME loans are currently discussed as a potential remedy. Despite SME-covered bonds offering lucrative features for investors and issuers alike, there are significant constraints that may limit their potential to revitalise bank lending to SMEs for the time being. [more]
Germany
Capital investment in Germany at sectoral level: Service providers continue to expand while industry contracts slightly
Germany's service sectors have shown themselves to be keener to invest than industry in recent years. The net fixed assets held by the service sectors grew by almost 28% in real terms between 1995 and 2012, although their growth rate has slowed over time. By contrast, the capital stock in the industrial sectors has shrunk by 1.6% in real terms. While, on the one hand, politicians in Germany have been expressing regret or even voicing criticism over the country's current lack of capital spending, on the other they have recently introduced measures (such as their policies on pensions and labour markets) that are hampering investment in Germany rather than stimulating it; this approach is inconsistent. [more]
Focus Germany
Focus Germany – Outlook 2015: Recovery with risks attached
Following a weak winter half in 2014/15 the economy looks likely to regain its footing as 2015 progresses. However, sluggish performance at the turn of the year means growth will probably average only 1% in 2015 after 1.4% in 2014. It is encouraging, however, that private consumption should remain a major pillar of growth, whereas net exports are likely to have a neutral impact. Nonetheless, signs are increasing that some – in our opinion misguided – economic policy moves (such as the introduction of a nationwide minimum wage as well as an enhanced pensions package) are weighing on the labour market and thus on consumption. Given a weakening of cyclical activity and the costs of economic policy measures, we expect the general government budget to be slightly in deficit in 2015. [more]
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