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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 (91-100)
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]
91
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]
92
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]
93
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]
94
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]
95
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]
96
March 22, 2016
Region:
In 2015, exports of German goods to the oil states declined by 7.4%. This was the third fall in a row. Growing exports to the United Arab Emirates (primarily aircraft) and Saudi Arabia prevented an even worse result. As oil prices will initially remain low, German exports to the oil-producing countries are expected to fall again in 2016. Our export indicator points to a decline of approximately 5%. Among the major German industrial sectors, mechanical engineering is likely to be hardest hit by falling demand from the oil states, as was the case in 2015. Overall, the significance of the oil producers as a market for German industry will continue to decline in 2016. [more]
97
March 3, 2016
Region:
Despite the challenging environment German exporters gained global market share in 2015. The year 2016 has not got off to an auspicious start, however. Our new “Export Indicator” points to a double whammy for German exports in 2016. The less favourable outlook for the demand and especially for the exchange rate impact looks set to slow export growth to around 3% in 2016. When analysing German exports, it is worth looking at sector-specific factors as they can play an even more important role than the macroeconomic environment. Overall, German industry faces a challenging year for exports. Further topics in this issue: House prices: Imminent return to normal, overvaluation likely; GDP growth 2016: More domestically driven & facing more downside risks; Merkel likely to weather even weak state election results. [more]
98
February 5, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
The demand for electric cars in Germany remains low. Their share of total new car registrations was less than 1% in 2015. The clamour is increasing among policymakers in favour of stimulating demand with the aid of cash incentives. The argument is that if such incentives were high enough the market share of electric cars would indeed increase faster than has been the case to date. Nevertheless, there is a host of economic, regulatory and social policy reasons that argue against cash incentives. We continue to favour an integration of road traffic into the EU Emissions Trading System in order to limit the sector's CO<sub>2</sub> emissions [more]
99
January 28, 2016
Region:
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]
100
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