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Economic and european 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.

309 (161-170)
November 19, 2015
In the German manufacturing sector real net fixed assets in 2013 were 0.8% lower than in 2000. Looking at the average, however, masks the fact that only four out of 19 manufacturing sectors expanded their capital stock compared with 2000. The major importance of the automotive industry is striking. Its net fixed capital formation exceeded that of all other manufacturing sectors combined between 1995 and 2006 and has done so since 2009. The auto industry boosted its real net fixed asset in Germany between 2000 and 2013 by nearly 38%. In the energy-intensive sectors, by contrast, the capital stock in Germany continues to shrink, a trend that has been ongoing for years. If economic policy conditions in Germany were to deteriorate in future, we would expect manufacturing companies to invest even more heavily abroad. [more]
November 13, 2015
The influx of refugees has raised net immigration to Germany to the record level of more than one million. Among the OECD countries, this trend could put Germany ahead of the United States, traditionally the No. 1 destination country for migrants. As a result, Germany faces the difficult − and costly – Herculean task of integrating the refugees and absorbing the supply shock to the labour market. At the same time, the refugees represent an opportunity for rejuvenating an ageing population in Germany, where there is a growing scarcity of labour and the threat of lower structural growth. In our outlined win-win scenario, successful integration offers Germany the opportunity to consolidate its position as Europe’s economic powerhouse and to increase its attractiveness as an immigration country. A sustained high level of net immigration will attenuate the decline of the trend growth rate brought on by an ageing population. Instead of moving closer to stagnation, the trend growth could still amount to 1% in ten to 15 years as well, which would also benefit social systems. [more]
November 11, 2015
The single market is and remains the centrepiece of Europe’s economic architecture – but current single market arrangements are struggling to keep pace with the digital economy. With digitisation advancing, adapting single market rules becomes increasingly important to ensure its functioning and digital technologies could help unlock some of the remaining single market benefits. The European Commission has made the digital single market (DSM) a key priority, put forward a dedicated strategy in May 2015 and recently announced further steps to strengthen the internal market. Big expectations have been attached to the DSM – yet the gains associated with it are unlikely to materialise automatically. Will Europe’s digital strategy succeed? [more]
November 5, 2015
Since the last Focus Germany, some disappointing economic data have been published that fuelled the speculations around a slowing German economy. We do not believe that this requires revisions of our GDP forecast, though. Just like last year, the weakness of the industrial data is overstated by holiday effects. Nevertheless, there is a risk of an even lower foreign demand than stated by our already cautious estimates. This, however, is balanced by the upward risks for the domestic economy. Due to the migration dynamics over the summer months, we are reducing our budget forecasts for 2015 and 2016. Relative to gross domestic product we now expect surpluses of 0.3% and 0.0%, respectively (previously 0.7% and 0.5%). [more]
October 27, 2015
Dependency ratio bottomed out in most advanced and most of the larger emerging economies sometime during the past 10-20 years. The dependency ratio is the ratio of people younger than 15 or older than 64 (so-called dependents) to those aged 15-64 (working-age population). Even China’s dependency ratio hit its sweet spot in 2010 and will rise rapidly over the coming decades. [more]
October 7, 2015
It will take many years to reduce the demand overhang in the housing market if there is not a huge jump in building activity. This harbours the risk that the current phase of prices returning to normal could first lead to overshooting and end in a market correction. This scenario comes with high economic costs. These could be avoided by improving depreciation conditions for newbuild housing in Germany's large cities and metropolitan regions. [more]
October 2, 2015
Although the external and the financial environment have deteriorated we have lifted our 2016 GDP call to 1.9% (1.7%). Drivers are stronger real consumption growth due to lower oil prices/stronger EUR and the surge in immigration which should ceteris paribus add about ½ pp to consumption (split between private and public). The risks are mainly external (EMs). We lower our forecast for German inflation (national definition) in 2015 and 2016 to 0.3% and 1.3% from 0.5% and 2.0%. The relatively large adjustment for 2016 is due to the weaker inflation development in H2 2015 and due to our expectations of a weaker dynamic in 2016. [more]
September 17, 2015
The healthcare sector uses advanced digital equipment that is supposed to accelerate medical progress and at the same time ensure economic efficiency. However, the gaps that exist are extremely worrying. In many highly developed advanced economies, and especially in Germany, there are already signs of the coming challenges connected with predicted population ageing and the associated shortage of doctors and the pressure on costs in the healthcare system. Here, technological progress in all its facets, from teleconsulting right through to 3D bioprinting, can dampen the increase in healthcare costs without adversely affecting quality. However, before this potential for boosting macroeconomic efficiency can be tapped there are economic, legal and societal obstacles that need to be surmounted (with regard to data protection, remuneration systems, education and network expansion, for example). The first steps in the right direction have already been taken – albeit with extreme caution and circumspection in some of these cases. In this respect it can certainly help to take a look at the industrial sector where digital technology is already making inroads under the “Industry 4.0” moniker. [more]
September 4, 2015
Free trade stimulates economic activity in all the signatory countries. The free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea is a relatively recent example providing evidence of this fact. In H1 2015, German goods exports to South Korea were up by more than 50% on the level before the agreement came into force in July 2011; by contrast, total German exports increased by merely 13% in the same period. True, German imports from South Korea fell during this period. However, this was due to two sector-specific one-off effects. Stripping out these effects, the imports rose at an above-average pace. The positive economic stimuli should also be a strong argument in support of the current TTIP negotiations. [more]
September 1, 2015
GDP growth accelerated slightly to +0.4% qoq in Q2 with disappointing details. The domestic economy was a drag due to the decline of investments and an inventory reduction. Consumption slowed. Net exports were the major growth engine. German exports benefitted from the weaker EUR and strong demand especially from the US. We cut our Q3 GDP growth forecast slightly to 0.4% qoq. Despite this downward revision, we modestly increase our 2015 GDP forecast to 1.7% due to the marginal upward revision of H1 numbers, and changes in the growth composition. Fundamentally our outlook remains unchanged. Domestic demand, esp. private consumption, is the primary growth driver and the external environment remains challenging. [more]