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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.

257 (101-110)
January 28, 2016
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After three years of high GDP forecast accuracy, we were off the mark by a substantial margin in 2015. The miss can mainly be traced to our assumptions with regard to oil, the USD, the magnitude of the refugee influx and a bit of bad timing, as the USD and oil saw a massive adjustment right after we had published our 2015 forecast. Last year’s imponderables are once again at the top of our list of forecast uncertainties for 2016. In this issue we also look at the wage round in 2016 and Chancellor Merkel’s asylum policy. [more]
101
January 21, 2016
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Analyst:
Our analysis on labour mobility shows that mobility between EMU countries is relatively low compared to the US. EMU mobility was far higher in the post-crisis period and increased significantly since 2007. In particular, the ongoing, pronounced variation of the labour market situation across EMU countries should remain a driving force of bilateral migration. The higher mobility provides some limited hope for the ECB. However, the increased competition caused by the jump of migration from non-EMU countries will probably put the increased EMU labour mobility at risk, which was dominated by the shift of flows in the direction of Germany as EMU’s stability anchor since the start of the crisis. [more]
102
December 23, 2015
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The financial and economic crisis brought development banks back in the spotlight. They are seen as part of the economic policy toolkit for overcoming cyclical and structural difficulties in economies, complementing financial systems by improving their functioning and bolstering economic resilience. Interest in development banking to promote growth and boost investment has increased especially in Europe of late. Given the current economic environment and changes in Europe’s banking and financial markets, development banks are bound to continue playing an important role in the coming years. Rather than crisis relief, their focus is shifting (back) to supporting structural change in economies. Here, they can play a useful complementary role, focusing on areas of market failure but risks lie with potential “overburdening” of development banks and setting expectations too high for what they can achieve. [more]
103
December 22, 2015
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Analyst:
The manufacturing sector's stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) added up to some EUR 251.1 bn in Germany in 2013. This is equivalent to more than 27% of total German FDI. The data is collated on the basis of the specific business sector to which a German investor belongs. The statistics incorporate the following direct investments of domestic companies and private individuals: firstly, direct cross-border share capital or company voting rights of 10% or more. Secondly, stakes in foreign companies are taken into account if the directly and indirectly (that is via dependent holding companies) held share capital or voting rights exceed the 50% mark. [more]
104
December 16, 2015
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The German economy was extremely stable over the course of 2015, although the volatile newsflow that ranged from the oil price shock, material euro exchange rate depreciation, “Dieselgate” right through to the refugee crisis could make one think otherwise. Driven by a 15-year high in private consumption growth economic output rose by more than 1 ½% in 2015, as already achieved in 2014. Economic growth is set to accelerate to nearly 2% in 2016, following a pretty stable trend over the course of the year. Private consumption should remain the most important growth driver. Public consumption will remain expansionary given the continued influx of refugees and resulting public spending. If refugees can be successfully integrated into the labour market, the refugee crisis will provide Germany's ageing society with a medium-term opportunity. [more]
105
December 15, 2015
On a global comparison, business regulation in the EU is quite transparent. Looking at four basic areas that affect firms’ operations, i.e. fees for starting a business, transferring property, construction permits and getting access to electricity, it is easy to access information on these fees. While there are some differences across the four categories – finding out about fees to start a business is easiest while checking on charges to obtain building permits can be trickier – the overall level of transparency is quite high. [more]
106
November 26, 2015
Analyst:
Roughly 150 countries have submitted their national climate protection commitments in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. While these commitments will probably not suffice to meet the 2°C target, related assessments are very favourable nonetheless. Obviously, the bottom-up approach, that is to say the voluntary national climate protection commitments, promises greater progress than the globally coordinated negotiated solution targeted at past UN climate conferences. There is an awareness that the current proposals have shortcomings as regards the 2°C target, but there are hopes that the individual countries will aim for more ambitious targets over the next few years. Sentiment is thus swinging between optimism and realism. Considering the growing demand for energy, the international community is clearly only just beginning to encounter the real challenges of climate protection. [more]
107
November 26, 2015
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Analyst:
The logistics sector in Germany is characterised by innovative and diversified companies as well as very good location factors. There are, however, economic and structural factors which suggest that turnover growth will be relatively moderate over the next few years. Between 2003 and 2008 sector turnover grew by a nominal 4.6% per year. Following the recession, that is from 2009 to 2014, the growth rate dropped to 3.4% p.a. (while the inflation rate was somewhat lower). Over the next five years average annualised nominal turnover growth is likely to be more in the range of between 2% and 3%. This would propel sector turnover through the EUR 300 bn barrier. The logistics sector will remain a focus of state regulation; this is true particularly of the important transport segment. [more]
108
November 19, 2015
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Analyst:
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]
109
November 13, 2015
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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]
110
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