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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.

310 (141-150)
July 4, 2016
Region:
The political and economic implications as well as the order of events of the Brexit are currently very hard to predict. We assume that Europe – as usual in recent years – will “muddle-through”. The ECB will not panic, but wait to assess the consequences of the UK’s choice to exit the EU. Due to Brexit we lower our 2017 German GDP forecast to 1.3% from 1.6%. About half of that is due to lower export growth. The other half of the revision results from lower investment in machinery & equipment by German corporates. All told, domestic demand should only feel a marginal impact given that the fundamental drivers – healthy labour market and construction sector – remain intact. Further topics in this issue: German consumers, labour market and Germany in the aftermath of the EU referendum in the UK. [more]
142
July 1, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Following the UK referendum, Brexit will also leave traces on German industry. After all, 7.5% of all German exports went to the UK in 2015, making it Germany’s third most important export market after the United States and France. The automotive and pharmaceutical industries are likely to be hit the hardest by Brexit. This is because the UK accounts for 12.8% and 10.5%, respectively, of these two industries’ total exports. In addition, they both generally have an above-average export ratio. The UK referendum is likely to have an impact on individual companies’ investment decisions and German companies’ UK pricing structures in the short term. [more]
143
June 23, 2016
Region:
What this victory for the Leave campaign ends up meaning for the future of Britain is debatable. What is not in doubt is that Europe without its brightest star will be a darker place. Adding to the gloom is the fact this was avoidable. Britain voting to go it alone mirrors a wider distrust in the European project – a manifestation of its weak economic situation. [more]
144
June 17, 2016
Region:
The Juncker Plan set out to boost investment in Europe and can show some progress so far. After operating for about a year, a total of EUR 12.8 bn financing of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) has been approved by the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. This is expected to trigger EUR 100 bn of total investment according to estimates by the institutions. The European Commission has already called for extension of EFSI beyond the initial three year period ideally increasing its scale and scope. However, considerations about EFSI’s future need to be based on thorough evaluation of effectiveness and demonstrated added value. After the first year, there is -quite naturally- more information on activity than evidence on impact. To that effect, continuous monitoring and mid-term stock-taking are key to inform the debate about EFSI's future. [more]
145
June 7, 2016
Region:
Fiscal councils can improve the sustainability of public finances. They can increase transparency and accountability of fiscal policymaking by providing unbiased information to the public and stakeholders in the budget process. The design of their mandates, independence, and their public role are key conditions determining effectiveness. The new European Advisory Fiscal Board (EAFB) can be a valuable addition but is unlikely to be a game changer. Far-reaching reforms on the Union’s fiscal framework remain contingent on political will. Independence is crucial for fiscal councils to have an impact. This holds for both the EAFB and national fiscal councils. In addition, cooperation between the new EAFB and national bodies is a necessary requirement for a “European System of Fiscal Boards” to work effectively. [more]
146
June 3, 2016
Region:
We revise down our Q2 GDP growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.1% as we expect material payback for Q1 strength. While we remain optimistic with regards to the labour market, we think that the impetus from low oil prices to real incomes is fading. In addition, the mild winter has allowed construction work to be brought forward, albeit the payback might be limited by the strength of underlying construction demand. Given weak export sentiment, falling investment goods orders and lower capacity utilisation, we think investment in machinery & equipment is going to weigh on Q2 growth. We maintain our 2016 GDP forecast (1.7%), though. Despite spending on refugees, the German national budget generated a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2015, the largest since 2000. However, the healthy short and medium-term fiscal outlook only marginally reduces the need for the reform of public finances. [more]
147
May 12, 2016
Region:
CSU leader Seehofer and SPD leader Gabriel have advocated a stabilization of the level of the public pension scheme’s benefits. This would mean to skip one of the past decade’s major social policy reforms that aimed at enhancing the public budgets' fiscal sustainability. Mr. Seehofer has even questioned the complete architecture of Germany’s pension system by also stating that the Riester-Pension had failed. Obviously both party leaders are in search for popular topics for the imminent federal election campaign, given that in 2017 more than one third of the eligible voters will be 60 years old or older. But it is doubtful whether the promotion of pensioners‘ interests will help both leaders to improve their parties’ image. Further topics in this issue: High returns on direct investments in Germany, Global trade growth remains subdued. [more]
148
April 7, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Last year, the proportion of diesel cars among new car registrations in the EU-15 dropped by 1.5 percentage points to just over 52%. This was the fourth decline in a row. The fall in the diesel share was especially pronounced in France, where the government wants to reduce the tax advantage for diesel over petrol. By contrast, in Germany the diesel share increased slightly last year, due among other things to the large number of commercial car registrations. We expect a further decline in the diesel share in the European car market over the next few years. The higher costs for diesel technology play a role here. However, for high-mileage drivers in particular, the lower consumption and long range of diesel cars as well as lower fuel prices remain convincing sales arguments. Therefore, provided governments do not introduce any serious surcharges for diesel cars, the diesel share of the European car market is unlikely to crash. [more]
149
April 4, 2016
Region:
According to our and consensus expectations Germany will record 4 years (2014-2017) of above potential GDP growth in an extremely narrow range of 1.5% to 1.7%, despite substantial shocks and massive swings in growth drivers. If growth breaks out, a downside move seems more likely than higher growth. The economic slowdown in the oil-producing countries due to the falling oil price also carries implications for the German economy in terms of its foreign trade. Although the overall effect is positive for the German economy, German exports to oil-producing countries remain under pressure. Capital spending on residential construction has been growing sluggishly in recent years. The main reasons are: a shortage of building land, increased regulatory hurdles in virtually all construction sectors, high construction costs and a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry. [more]
150
31.2.4