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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.

268 (71-80)
April 6, 2017
Region:
In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
71
April 4, 2017
Region:
In the current debate about the future of the EU, politicians as well as the media are warning of a tendency by member states to shift their focus back to their own national interests and of a subsequent loss of significance of the EU. Are policymakers reacting to actual changes in the attitudes of EU citizens or is there an underlying perception issue here? [more]
72
March 23, 2017
Region:
With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level. [more]
73
March 9, 2017
Region:
At face value the pick-up of GDP growth at the end of 2016 (Q4: +0.4% qoq vs. +0.1% prev.) seems to fit with improving sentiment. However, given its composition we would argue that underlying growth was weaker than the headline suggests. We stick to our below consensus GDP forecast for 2017 (1.1%) and only make cosmetic changes in the details. We are raising our inflation forecast slightly overall for 2017, from 1.6% to 1.7%, compared with only 0.5% in 2016. We still expect core inflation to be only slightly above 1% in 2017. If the signs of global price increases are confirmed, then we could in fact see a more pronounced increase in core inflation, particularly if rising prices translate into second-round effects when wage negotiations are conducted in 2018. (Further articles: German industry, German election campaign) [more]
74
February 21, 2017
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Analyst:
Securitisation markets have returned to policymakers’ attention recently, only this time as a hoped-for panacea to anaemic lending in Europe rather than a culprit for the financial crisis. To date, the focus is largely on true-sale securitisation. Yet synthetic securitisation has notable potential as well, especially for SME lending. Synthetic securitisation saw mixed trends in recent years. 1) Complex arbitrage deals have almost disappeared. 2) Balance sheet synthetic deals have surged to an issuance volume of EUR 94 bn in 2016. Transactions have become mostly private, yet are now much less complex and of robust asset quality. A firm inclusion of balance sheet deals in the evolving framework for simple, transparent and standardised (STS) securitisations would be sensible and could well contribute to a recovery in lending in Europe. [more]
75
February 14, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
In 2016, electric cars and hybrids represented only 1.8% of all new passenger car registrations in Germany. It therefore remains a niche market – despite the introduction of subsidies last year. The average car buyer steers clear of electric vehicles because of high purchase costs, uncertainty about resale value and battery life, limited range, a lack of charging stations and lengthy charging times. This reluctance to buy presents the automotive industry and the state with a dilemma: strict CO2 limits for new vehicles mean that the industry has to invest heavily in electric-car technology, but it cannot expect an equivalent payback in terms of revenue in the foreseeable future. For the state, it can come down to a straight choice between granting expensive subsidies or failing to reach climate change targets. [more]
76
January 24, 2017
Region:
It is hard to overstate the importance of trade policy for Europe. The EU28 is the largest trading bloc, the top trading partner for about 80 countries worldwide and ranks 1st for in- and outbound investment. The EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) vary substantially, depending on partners and policy priorities. “New generation trade agreements” go beyond traditional tariff reductions, including issues like services trade, intellectual property or investment. EU agreements to foster trade (and investment), however, have sparked mixed feelings more recently given the backlash against globalisation as well as EU-internal controversies over the power to strike such deals. Yet, the EU’s ability to conclude trade deals is also contingent on political support. Rising scepticism about globalisation means, that (potential) distributional effects of FTAs and their (potential) interaction with national legislation, is going to feature more prominently throughout negotiations and in the public debate. [more]
77
December 21, 2016
Region:
German GDP growth is expected to slow somewhat in 2017 following considerable momentum over the last two years. We note the growth rate will almost half, to 1.1%, in 2017, but around half of this is due to a smaller number of working days. While the economy will likely have to do without a number of special factors that provided a boost to domestic demand in 2016, we believe that the underlying robust domestic economic growth path remains intact. Weak global trade and political uncertainty will dampen exports and investments. The ECB has in all but words indicated that tapering will begin in 2017. European interest rates are likely to remain at very low levels in 2017, at least at the short end. [more]
78
December 15, 2016
Region:
Germany remains an anchor of steadiness with an undisputed role as leader in Europe and is the only country that comes close to being on a par with America. This story of success is based on many structural factors, some of which complement and mutually reinforce each other. We group them as follows: (1) Macropolicies focused on stability and growth (2) Institutions grounded in German ‘ordoliberalism’ (3) Global companies with unique structures (4) An equitable system of social security and cooperative social partners (5) A long-term perspective by companies and citizens with the willingness to forgo immediate reward – in our view the most important factor in the success. The combination of innovative, multinational companies, functioning institutions and highly skilled workers will, in our view, maintain Germany’s competitiveness and prosperity into the future. German politicians are therefore confronted with the increasing challenge of holding the eurozone together. However, if anti-euro movements gain the upper hand in key partner countries, thereby increasing the disruptive risks, there may be a reassessment in Germany of the euro’s costs and benefits. [more]
79
December 6, 2016
Region:
Analyst:
Inequality is dominating the political debate in various countries still characterised by sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment even several years after the financial crisis. In this note we look at trends, drivers and solutions. Four points stand out from the trends. First, global income inequality has increased over the last three decades. Second, the integration of the EM into the global economy has allowed aggregate income levels to converge towards AE levels, lifting millions out of poverty. Third, the AE have been better able to control income inequality via redistribution. Fourth, aggregates can be deceptive. Rising income inequality is associated with globalisation, technological change and migration. At the same time they have had an undeniably positive impact on aggregate income. The policy dilemma is in resolving the tension between the increase in income and its unfair distribution. [more]
80
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