Talking point
Dark clouds over lignite
The German government is sticking to its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from the 1990 level by 2020. As it currently seems doubtful that the target will be achieved, Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel suggests introducing an additional climate contribution for older electricity power plants with particularly high CO2-emissions. Especially older lignite-based power plants would be affected by such a measure. And this at a time when many power plants are under pressure anyway due to changes in the investment strategies of a large Scandinavian investor. [more]
Germany
Misguided policy raises risk of housing bubble
Politicians should focus on an expansion of building activity in the major cities and conurbations in order to reduce the upside pressure on house prices. In the past few months there have been indications of easing activity in the construction sector. If this trend materialises, the pressure on house prices will intensify further. One possible cause of this development is capacity restrictions, and a lack of suitable skilled labour in the finishing trades in particular. An immigration law that specifically focuses on bottlenecks in the labour market could help to bring about some relief. If it becomes obvious over the next few months that construction growth is going to remain sluggish long term, rent control should not be implemented in the regions. [more]
Germany
German steel set to benefit from global growth
The period up to 2025 offers the German steel industry good prospects for a stable and economically sound future. However, this requires policymakers to take a reasonable approach to the further development of the regulatory framework for steel producers and their customer industries in Germany just as it requires only a modest level of expansion in steel capacity at global level. There are also other conceivable scenarios with greater risks, challenges and consequences for the German steel industry and its employees – and these alternatives are in no way completely improbable. [more]
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