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Economic and Financial policy

In this section you find analyses and commentaries on European (and especially German) economic and fiscal policy. Particular attention is devoted to the institutional development of the EU, above all monetary union, and its individual policy areas.

182 Documents
January 23, 2018
Economic policy uncertainty in Europe has risen to extraordinarily high levels. This stands in stark contrast to conventional measures of financial market uncertainty which are at historical lows. Uncertainty surrounding economic policies has negative spillover effects to the rest of the economy. It tends to be transmitted to capital markets and to result in higher financing costs for companies. Significant cross-country transmission of economic policy uncertainty is observable within the EU, with the UK being a net exporter. In addition, banks could turn out to be a central channel through which economic policy uncertainty is transmitted to the real economy, via subdued lending to non-financial corporations, in particular to SMEs. [more]
December 21, 2017
House prices and rents have risen considerably during the current house price cycle. Rents are the component of the consumer price basket which has the biggest impact on overall inflation. While recent newspaper reports and market figures reflect the uptrend in rents, the official statistics are suspiciously free of it. This holds especially for Berlin. Consequently, official figures for the capital – and probably for Germany as a whole, if to a smaller extent – probably underestimate actual inflation. [more]
December 15, 2017
With a growth rate of probably 2.3% in 2017, Germany delivered the main positive surprise in the industrial world. In 2018, German GDP looks set to expand by 2.3% again. If this forecast materialises, Germany will grow at an above-potential rate for the fifth year in a row. The upcoming wage round and resilient demand combined with the global decline in free capacities might, however, push up prices more strongly than currently expected. We already voiced concerns ahead of the Bundestag elections that the new government (just like its predecessor) might not pay sufficient attention to urgent challenges such as digitalisation, demographics and globalisation as the labour market situation is favourable. Now that forming a government has turned out to be unexpectedly difficult our concerns have increased. [more]
December 8, 2017
No real surprises hidden in the “Saint Nicholas” reform package from Brussels, a detailed set of reform proposals and communications that the European Commission published as a “roadmap” for deepening EMU. The proposals build on Commission President Juncker’s September State of the Union speech and, in essence, match closely with the French vision of more stabilization and risk-sharing in the EU, while they also try to meet German demands for better supervision of fiscal rules. The strong focus on anchoring any further integration of the Monetary Union - such as the reform of the ESM and the introduction of a Eurozone budget - in the institutional framework also illustrates the wariness in Brussels of being sidelined in its fiscal competencies and to allow the euro area to further develop on its own. [more]
December 1, 2017
Beyond the Catalan referendum, independence movements in Europe seem to enjoy a revival. But calls for greater autonomy or even secession are not just about cultural identity - financial discrepancies between regions also play a major role. Unsurprisingly, most of the regions with strong separatist tendencies are amongst the wealthiest in their respective countries. Calls for (more) independence seem to be loudest when national financial equalization mechanisms lead to results that are perceived as disproportional, such as in Spain or Italy. [more]
December 1, 2017
The fluid political situation in Germany threatens to stall EU policymaking in a number of fields, above all the build-out of the euro area. The EU summit on Dec 14/15 is unlikely to yield an agreement on a potential roadmap for reforming the monetary union making it even more difficult to take final decisions in June 2018 as envisaged by the EU Commission. This will in return dampen optimism that a French-German tandem will provide a fresh impetus to the EU as a whole before the European Parliament elections in 2019. [more]
November 15, 2017
The euro’s second place among the world’s most important reserve currencies has remained so far undisputed. The single currency’s share of allocated foreign exchange reserves stabilised at 19.9% in Q2, according to IMF data. The US dollar easily defended its position as the dominant currency in the international monetary system. But both the euro and the dollar gradually gave some way to other reserve currencies. Regardless of whether this observation reflects structural developments or rather (temporary) shifts in reserve allocation - it certainly fuels the discussion about the 21st century’s leading reserve currency (or currencies). [more]
November 13, 2017
Employment in Germany has been rising for years now. However, cyclical tailwinds increasingly hide structural problems, such as tighter regulation and demographic developments. If the labour market is not to become a major obstacle to German growth, the future government will need to take quick and decisive action to counteract existing and imminent imbalances on this key market. Reducing long-term unemployment will require a mix of policy measures. The total number of jobs would probably be significantly lower, if there was no low-wage sector. Integrating refugees and the “mismatch” between the qualifications desired by employers and the qualifications which unemployed people actually possess are major challenges. Which direction is the new German government going to take in labour market policy? [more]
November 3, 2017
Envisaged Jamaica coalition: After the exploratory talks is before the negotiations. It would not come as a surprise, if the coalition formation were to take longer than ever before in the Federal Republic and if the chancellor were not until January. Given that in many areas critical details remained unresolved in the first round of the exploratory talks, further challenging rounds will follow in the next few weeks. Only after that will the official coalition talks begin - provided the Greens sound the all-clear at their party convention. The search for compromises is aggravated, as many of the partners’ requests have to remain unfulfilled despite buoyant tax revenues. Initially, i.e. in 2018, the economic impulse of a "black-yellow-green" fiscal policy is likely to be very limited. But steps in the right direction of strengthening Germany are on the horizon. Another positive is the clear commitment to a united and strong Europe. (Also included in this issue: November tax estimate, German current account surplus, trends in the EU industry) [more]