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523 (91-100)
December 5, 2017
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We have lifted our GDP forecasts for 2017 and 2018 about half a point to 2.3%, as capex is boosted by an improved export outlook, which in turn is driven by the global capex cycle. The difficult formation of a new government – while not encouraging with regard to Germany’s longer-term challenges – should have limited impact on the short-term outlook. [more]
December 5, 2017
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The EU Commission proposed new mandatory CO₂ targets for passenger cars. These targets cannot be achieved with combustion engines alone. Stricter regulation thus enforces the electrification of the power train. However, the average car buyer currently does not play to the tune of regulatory policy and turns a cold shoulder on most alternative fuels. There are other climate policy instruments that outperform the CO₂ targets for passenger cars in terms of meeting the environmental targets and economic efficiency. [more]
December 1, 2017
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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
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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 28, 2017
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On November 3, the Dax reached a new record high, at 13,505. It has more than doubled since 2010. However, the commonly used total return index is unsuited for international comparisons. In addition, the Dax which is dominated by manufacturing firms is not representative of the German economy as a whole, which relies much more on the services sector. Despite the recent gains, the German stock market remains underdeveloped. With a market cap of 57% of GDP, Germany continues to rank last among the large European countries. This is not least due to a pension system which hardly involves the capital market, to risk-averse retail investors and to a large share of family-owned companies. [more]
November 23, 2017
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Between 1990 and 2016, Germany reduced its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) by 27.6%. Excluding the significant downtrend in the first few years after the German reunification, GHG emissions still declined by more than 19% between 1995 and 2016. This is a considerable success, particularly in an international comparison. After all, global energy-related carbon emissions increased by more than 50% during the same period. [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
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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
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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]
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