Talking point
European bank results: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
The half-year results of large European banks offer ammunition to both optimists and pessimists: loan losses and administrative expenses are shrinking, but so are total revenues. Net interest income, the sickly child of recent years, finally seems to be stabilising; however, net income is down again to poor levels. The state of an industry with two distinct faces. [more]
Germany
Progress needs broadband: Private investment requires more government stimuli
Besides transport and energy infrastructure, communications infrastructure is steadily gaining in importance in the regional competition to attract investment. One source of concern in particular though is the significant gulf in investment both between west German and east German federal states as well as between urban and rural regions. This is compounded by the problem that there is usually no viable business model for projects in rural areas without government subsidies. As there is no such thing as a standard blueprint for the broadband rollout with its huge investment requirements, every single project with its specific local features needs to undergo a critical economic feasibility analysis. On this basis, efforts should be taken to work out the best rollout model in terms of technology, funding and time horizon, respectively. In essence, the broadband rollout in Germany requires more government stimuli to foster private investment, but these efforts need to be coordinated and based on sound judgement. [more]
European integration
Recent trends in FDI activity in Europe: Regaining lost ground to accelerate growth
In recent years, the European Union has lost its appeal as the globally most important region for foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2013, China alone received more FDI inflows than all EU countries together. Apart from the rising importance of emerging markets, the economic crisis in Europe has reduced investment incentives for companies from abroad. However, especially in Europe low FDI stocks can also be linked to competitiveness deficits. Some EU countries have not received substantial FDI flows even before the crisis and would benefit substantially by attracting more investments.  [more]
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