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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.

256 (71-80)
November 8, 2016
Region:
Over the next three to five years, global trade is likely to grow only at or around the same pace as global GDP. This structurally weaker momentum will be reflected in slow growth in the global and regional flow of goods, as has already been the case in recent years. In its role as an open, export-oriented economy, Germany – and the German logistics sector in particular – will continue to feel the sting of this development. At a nominal average of 2% a year, turnover growth in the sector is likely to be below the long-term average in the years ahead. [more]
71
November 8, 2016
Region:
It was obvious that the Chinese government was not amused when, in light of the ever-expanding list of German technology companies being bought up by Chinese investors, the German Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel spoke of the lack of reciprocation in Chinese investment conditions for German companies. According to press reports, in the first half of this year alone, Chinese companies invested at least EUR 8 billion in German companies. [more]
72
October 28, 2016
Region:
German wage growth slowed in H1 2016 and there is a range of factors that are likely to also put a lid on the pick-up in 2017. The impact of labour shortage is limited by material mismatch between the qualifications of the unemployed and those sought by employers as well as substantial immigration flows. High real wage gains have pushed up unit labour costs and weighed on corporate profitability, which is further undermined by low productivity growth. Cautious wage agreements in 2016 on average stipulate only 2% wage increases in 2017. Despite a 4% increase in the statutory minimum wage, aggregate wages should increase by only around 2 ½%. According to our forecasts, next year could see the growth rate for industrial production in Germany drop to 0.5% in real terms. Regarding output in Germany’s large industrial sectors we do not expect major outliers. Also in this issue: “The View from Berlin. All lights on the debates about personalities and tactical gambits.” [more]
74
October 4, 2016
Region:
The policy of low and negative interest rates has had a limited impact on the returns on household financial assets in Germany to date. The nominal total return has averaged 3.4% over the last four years. Even nominal returns on interest-bearing investments did not slip below 2% until 2015 because a large proportion of longer-dated and mostly higher-coupon investments dampened the effect of evaporating market returns. High and stable revaluation gains have also buttressed total returns over recent years. They have probably been enhanced in no small measure by the ECB’s Quantitative Easing programme. Interest income and revaluation effects are likely to be a greater burden in 2016 and 2017. The income return on other assets is also likely to drop on account of the financial market environment. The scope for further significant revaluation gains is likely to be limited given already very high valuations. In 2017 the real total return could even become negative (again). [more]
75
September 30, 2016
Region:
Brexit affects regional policy both in the UK and in the EU27. It has a direct impact via financial adjustments for the individual funds, and indirect effects, possibly influencing the budgetary debates to come and adjusting regional policy priorities. However, the effects are highly contingent on the timing of Brexit and the planning processes and preparations for the new EU budget beyond 2020. The biggest stakes are potential changes to the structural funds which invest all across the EU. Finally, there is the issue of possible future cooperation between the EU27 and the UK after a Brexit. In principle, regional policy programmes already provide for some options here. However, the specific arrangements and conditions are only going to be defined as part of the negotiations to structure the new relationship. [more]
76
September 29, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Ensuring sufficient funding for European start-ups forms an integral part of the emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU). Cost-efficient solutions are necessary to reverse the 40% decline in small IPOs in recent years. To strengthen bank lending to start-ups, reviving the securitisation market and potentially establishing an SME-covered bond market is crucial. Venture capital investments are also subdued – most recently, they were only one tenth of the level in the US. To increase them, institutional investors should be granted more flexibility in their portfolio allocations. Finally, the EU hosts more than 500 crowd funding platforms. A common legal and regulatory approach could stir consolidation and thereby reduce search costs for investors and borrowers alike. [more]
77
September 27, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
The Climate Action Plan 2050 is intended to show how Germany can meet its climate change targets; it is currently out for consultation with Federal German government departments. There was intense public criticism when individual passages of an earlier draft of the plan were diluted at the instigation of the German Chancellery. In this political discussion, long-term political ideals are confronted by cautious (more realistic?) recent assessments of technological progress, the economies of scale achievable by climate-friendly technologies, and adoption by consumers. The Climate Action Plan remains vague in many important aspects, such as the technologies to be used to meet climate change targets, the approximate absolute costs that can be expected, the restrictions on consumer sovereignty and commercial freedom of choice that politicians are considering and the future infringement of ownership rights and vested interests. [more]
78
September 2, 2016
Region:
Against the backdrop of strong Q2 growth and the revision of historic data, we increase our GDP forecast for 2016 to 1.9% (from 1.7%). For 2017 we lower our growth forecast to 1.0% (from 1.3%). Muted wage growth will likely weigh on consumption growth and subdued exports as well as high global uncertainty might negatively impact equipment investments. Further topics in this issue: Fiscal balance, Current account surplus, Retail investors, German industry and View from Berlin. [more]
79
August 29, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Nearly four years ago, the European Commission set its sights on increasing the share of manufacturing in total gross value added from 15.5% at that time to 20% by 2020. This target will probably not be met. After all, in 2015 the share of manufacturing was only around 15.6% and thus scarcely higher than in 2012. However, industry's contribution to EU output has at least stopped decreasing since 2012. Furthermore, industrial gross value added has picked up (slightly) in the EU in recent years in both nominal and real terms. In a few member states, there have been highly contrasting developments in the significance of manufacturing in the economy. It is striking that the industry share in the three large Eastern Europe member states has increased sharply since 2012. Spain and Italy have reported modest gains. Germany has seen its industry share decline slightly in 2015; however, at 22.8% it still far outstrips the EU average. [more]
80
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