1. Research
  2. Products & Topics
  3. Topics
  4. Economic and european policy

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 (201-210)
January 9, 2015
Region:
Analyst:
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]
201
January 6, 2015
Region:
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]
202
December 15, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
The integration of road transport into the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) using an upstream approach (with refineries and fuel importers as participants) is superior to the instrument of CO2 limit values for cars on the counts of ecological effectiveness and macroeconomic efficiency. This applies in particular if a cap on CO2 emissions enjoys top political priority. Higher taxes on fuel would also be more appropriate than a further tightening of limit values after 2020/21. Nonetheless, if policymakers should decide that (stricter) CO2 limit values for cars are to remain the instrument of choice after 2021, it would be appropriate to gear them to the (lower) targets in other large auto markets. [more]
203
December 5, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
Germany is constantly being accused of investing too little. Critics say this hurts Germany itself as well as other countries. This assertion enjoys broad support among (high-profile) economic researchers, international institutions such as the IMF and many lobbyists from the German business community. They see the extra public investment requirements running to 3% of GDP (per year!), with the going buzzword being the "investment gap". The government, in particular, has been called upon to significantly boost its investments in infrastructure. Even the disappointing GDP figures and lowered growth expectations of the past few months are now also being used to justify demands for a rapid increase in (public) investment. Hopes of growth stimuli for the neighbouring countries of Europe are playing a key role in many of these demands – especially at the high end of the demand scale. [more]
204
December 2, 2014
Region:
Underlying growth of the German economy has slowed in Q3. After average quarterly growth rates of over 0.3% qoq in the last 1 ½ years, GDP expanded just 0.1% in Q3. We expect about stagnation in the next two quarters with a risk of a negative print as sentiment has weakened further in October/November. The little momentum of global trade since 2012 points towards structural changes, which will affect German exports in particular. German export growth should therefore remain relatively muted during the next few years. We forecast average real German export growth at the lower end of a range of 4%-6% between 2014 and 2019, which should be buttressed by a depreciation of the euro. [more]
205
November 25, 2014
Region:
The introduction of a common European unemployment insurance scheme would be a conceivable option to increase the eurozone's resistance to severe asymmetric shocks. This would provide relief in the short term to countries facing cyclically induced higher unemployment. In principle, such a solution could function without redistribution between countries, but its practical implementation would be a complex undertaking. One alternative proposal would be a type of insurance for "catastrophic" shocks that only provides financial support in the event of a very strong surge in unemployment. [more]
206
November 13, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
German engineering firms must prepare to confront several trends over the medium term. The first of these is that a new, bipolar world of engineering markets is emerging. The United States and (once again) China are set to become especially promising centres of growth going forward. Further future trends are, secondly, the gradual shift in product focus towards customised system solutions; thirdly, the growing importance of not purely price-related competitive factors; and fourthly, the reconfiguration of the global division of labour in the engineering sector as the classic distinction between producer countries focusing on standard machinery and others focusing on speciality equipment becomes increasingly untenable. Provided that traditional suppliers to the manufacturing sector manage to spot the new mega-trends in good time, they will be able to build on these to develop promising strategies that enable them to adapt, survive and – ultimately – grow. [more]
207
November 5, 2014
Region:
We have cut our German GDP growth forecast from 1.5% to 1.3% for 2014 and further from 1.5% to 0.8% for 2015. We do not see Germany falling into a technical recession in Q3. But the 6 month slump of the ifo index has increased the risk that we might see a negative GDP print in Q4 2014 or Q1 2015. The positive effect of weaker oil prices will be offset by wage growth slowing from 3% plus this year towards 2% in 2015, as export-orientated sectors will respond to weaker external demand. Further topics in this issue: German industry: Temporary slowdown; German construction: Robust investment, but price momentum slowing; Inheritance tax: Constitutional Court ruling likely to weigh harder on business heirs; 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: "Blooming landscapes" only in part. [more]
208
October 14, 2014
Region:
Analyst:
SMEs’ access to finance remains a pressing problem in many parts of the euro area as SMEs largely rely on bank loans for funding. Our findings show that it is mainly the banks’ own refinancing costs in capital markets and their risk perceptions regarding SMEs which give rise to constraints. Of the steps taken to spur bank lending, the ECB’s LTROs seem to have had limited success. Securitisation of SME loans on the other hand has the potential to bridge the gap between SMEs’ funding needs and the availability of bank loans. Public-sector and market-based initiatives to improve SME financing are of great importance as well: for the former, private-sector involvement is crucial; as for the latter, overall success has been mixed so far. [more]
209
September 30, 2014
Region:
The recent positive surprises provided by real economic indicators have for now banished concerns that Germany might slide into recession in Q3. However, the ongoing geopolitical risks and the question marks hanging over the expected cyclical upturn will probably lead to weaker growth in exports and company investment. That is why we have scaled back our growth forecast for the winter half-year 2014/2015. Thus, we have lowered our forecast from 1.8% to 1.5%. In our current issue we also address Germany’s fiscal position, we analyse the consequences of potential Russian gas supply disruptions and we take a look at the investment behaviour of German households. [more]
210
30.5.0