Talking point
German Climate Action Plan – facing up to reality
The Climate Action Plan 2050 is intended to show how Germany can meet its climate change targets; it is currently out for consultation with Federal German government departments. There was intense public criticism when individual passages of an earlier draft of the plan were diluted at the instigation of the German Chancellery. In this political discussion, long-term political ideals are confronted by cautious (more realistic?) recent assessments of technological progress, the economies of scale achievable by climate-friendly technologies, and adoption by consumers. The Climate Action Plan remains vague in many important aspects, such as the technologies to be used to meet climate change targets, the approximate absolute costs that can be expected, the restrictions on consumer sovereignty and commercial freedom of choice that politicians are considering and the future infringement of ownership rights and vested interests. [more]
Focus Germany: Difficult times for German savers
The policy of low and negative interest rates has had a limited impact on the returns on household financial assets in Germany to date. The nominal total return has averaged 3.4% over the last four years. Even nominal returns on interest-bearing investments did not slip below 2% until 2015 because a large proportion of longer-dated and mostly higher-coupon investments dampened the effect of evaporating market returns. High and stable revaluation gains have also buttressed total returns over recent years. They have probably been enhanced in no small measure by the ECB’s Quantitative Easing programme. Interest income and revaluation effects are likely to be a greater burden in 2016 and 2017. The income return on other assets is also likely to drop on account of the financial market environment. The scope for further significant revaluation gains is likely to be limited given already very high valuations. In 2017 the real total return could even become negative (again). [more]
European integration
Think Local: What Brexit would mean for regional and cohesion policies in Europe
Brexit affects regional policy both in the UK and in the EU27. It has a direct impact via financial adjustments for the individual funds, and indirect effects, possibly influencing the budgetary debates to come and adjusting regional policy priorities. However, the effects are highly contingent on the timing of Brexit and the planning processes and preparations for the new EU budget beyond 2020. The biggest stakes are potential changes to the structural funds which invest all across the EU. Finally, there is the issue of possible future cooperation between the EU27 and the UK after a Brexit. In principle, regional policy programmes already provide for some options here. However, the specific arrangements and conditions are only going to be defined as part of the negotiations to structure the new relationship.  [more]
Global financial markets
Start-ups and their financing in Europe: Out of the woods with Capital Markets Union
Ensuring sufficient funding for European start-ups forms an integral part of the emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU). Cost-efficient solutions are necessary to reverse the 40% decline in small IPOs in recent years. To strengthen bank lending to start-ups, reviving the securitisation market and potentially establishing an SME-covered bond market is crucial. Venture capital investments are also subdued – most recently, they were only one tenth of the level in the US. To increase them, institutional investors should be granted more flexibility in their portfolio allocations. Finally, the EU hosts more than 500 crowd funding platforms. A common legal and regulatory approach could stir consolidation and thereby reduce search costs for investors and borrowers alike. [more]
Household financial assets in Germany, GDP growth, View from Berlin
German GDP; Fiscal balance; Current account surplus; Retail investors; German industry; View from Berlin
German industry, mortgage lending, German housing and office market, view from Berlin
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