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Germany’s new strength? From stimulus to growth
Abstract:  Buoyant demand from abroad and economic stimulus are casting German industry in a positive light by international comparison. For all the media criticism, German economic policy is better than its reputation, even if a broad growth agenda is still in its infancy. Above and beyond the austerity package already presented, government spending must be scrutinised for its contribution to growth. Tax breaks and subsidies need serious pruning, accompanied by income tax relief in the medium term, with windfall revenues being used to reduce deficits more quickly. The risks inherent in the social welfare system must be brought under control and latent growth potential in the healthcare system leveraged. Labour policy should continue down the successful path of greater flexibilisation. A better level of education and sufficient supply of skilled staff would generate consistently more economic momentum. An integrated energy and climate policy remains an absolutely vital growth driver.
Topics: Capital markets policy; Economic growth; Economic policy; Education; Energy policy; Fiscal policy; Germany; Health care; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Labour market policy; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Privatisation/liberalisation; Sectors / commodities; Social policy; Sustainability; Tax policy
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Risk management in agriculture: Towards market solutions in the EU
Abstract:  The responsibility to manage volatility in agriculture is increasingly in farmers’ hands and they will need to rely more heavily on market-based tools. All in all, public policy could be most useful in increasing the risk management ability of farmers. Any extension of the public safety net will reduce the incentives for farmers and other agents along the food supply chain to manage their risks effectively through derivatives, private insurance or on-farm strategies like production diversification. Policies need to empower farmers to take their own risk management decisions and to have access to a diversity of instruments and strategies. More direct interventions are likely better kept as a means of last resort and restricted to measures which do not act at the expense of the rest of the world or of environmental sustainability.
Topics: Capital markets; Environmental policy; Food and beverages; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Prices, inflation; Sectors / commodities; Socio-econ. trends; Sustainability; Trade
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Turbulence in the steel market
Abstract: The two key raw material inputs for steel production are iron ore and coking coal. In the coking coal market, the establishment of quality standards and the development of an online trading platform have already led to the emergence of reliable indices that are the basis for brisk business in forward transactions. The iron ore market is currently witnessing similar developments. The aim is greater flexibility in iron ore trading. ...
Topics: Auto industry; Construction industry; Macroeconomics; Mechanical engineering; Natural resources; Other sectors; Prices, inflation; Sectors / commodities; Steel industry
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White biotech: Revolution in instalments
Abstract: Industrial biotechnology offers huge development opportunities for the chemicals industry, enabling more efficient processes, innovative products and reduced dependence on the raw material oil. However, there is still a long way to go in building a chemicals industry geared to biomass. The main obstacles are price competition from established value chains based on oil and rivalry between medical and industrial biotech in the race for R&D funds...
Topics: Chemicals industry; Environmental policy; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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Gas glut reaches Europe: Major impact on prices, security and market structure
Abstract:  A gas glut is heralding the dawn of a new era in the continental European gas market. The free-market price of gas will become the new benchmark and will be the guide for the price of pipeline gas. The new price environment is creating many opportunities and challenges for domestic customers, industrial users, municipal utilities, regional energy suppliers, independent traders, newcomers, power plant operators, importers and gas producers. The areas concerned are(traditionally)long-term contracts and the typical large-scale projects regarding pipeline construction, LNG infrastructure and gas storage facilities. The security of supply in Europe is improving, not least because the gas glut impairs the powerful position of the “Gas OPEC”.
Topics: Economic policy; Energy policy; Energy sector; European integration; European issues; Gas industry; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Natural resources; Privatisation/liberalisation; Sectors / commodities
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Patents and trade policy in the era of climate change
Abstract: At the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen, a group of 77 developing nations and emerging markets led by China threw a controversial proposal into the negotiating ring. They called for an end to patent protection in general or compulsory licensing (governments limiting patent protection) for climate-friendly and/or energy-efficient technologies in order to speed up the growth-enhancing transfer of technology.
Topics: Economic growth; Economic policy; Emerging markets; European issues; Globalisation; Innovation; Intangible assets; Intern. relations; International financial system; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Technology and innovation; Trade; WTO
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Responsible Investments: A new investment trend here to stay
Abstract: The market for responsible investments has grown strongly in recent years. With institutional and private investors placing greater weight on ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria, corporates and sovereigns will be pressured to adhere to higher standards. Responsible investing thus supports the emergence of a more sustainable economic system. We expect the growth trend in responsible investing to continue over the medium term, especially in Europe. Need for action remains in particular with respect to the development of reliable standards and uniform definitions.
Topics: Global financial markets; International capital markets; International financial system; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Macroeconomics; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Socio-econ. trends; Sustainability
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World water markets: High investment requirements mixed with institutional risks
Abstract: The world’s water markets are confronted with major challenges. The increase in the world's population and higher incomes in developing countries and emerging markets are going hand in hand with a rise in demand for food, energy and other goods. This is resulting in increased demand for water. Climate change will amplify many water-related problems and create new ones. We put the annual investment required in the global water sector at about EUR 400-500 bn. Governments will not be able to raise the funding needed on their own. For this reason, we believe it makes sense for governments and the private sector to cooperate more closely. Makers of “water technologies” will have huge sales potential awaiting them in the coming decades. We have used a scoring model to rank the attractiveness of various countries for investments in the water industry. Among the economies that ranked best are many countries from the Middle East, but also the heavily populated countries of China and India as well as the US and Germany. In principle, though, all countries require a substantial amount of investment in the water sector.
Topics: Cities; Economic policy; Environmental policy; Environmental protection; Globalisation; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Mechanical engineering; Natural resources; Privatisation/liberalisation; Real estate; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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Electromobility – still a long way to the mass market
Abstract: The degree of electrification in the automobile industry will increase steadily over the coming years. More and more vehicles will be powered partly or fully by electricity in future. However, rapid structural changes are unlikely as many general problems surrounding electromobility have yet to be solved. Probably the greatest challenge in this context is the high cost of batteries...
Topics: Auto industry; Environmental policy; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Transport; Transport policy
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Green buildings: A niche becomes mainstream
Abstract: Green buildings have considerable advantages over conventional buildings. They have significantly lower energy consumption as well as lower operating and maintenance costs. Over the life cycle of a building these savings often offset higher initial costs and result in low or even negative CO2 abatement costs. Investors increase their commitment to green buildings due to rent and value premiums as well as lower vacancy rates. As a result the number of certified buildings soared recently. Building green is also a solution for governments seeking ways to decrease their countries’ CO2 emissions. The European Union has made a special commitment to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. While placing substantial emphasis on the use of renewable energy sources the EU has also realised the building sector’s potential as a major contributor towards its environmental goals. Above all, it is governments that have been the strongest force for a greener real estate sector. Future legislation is going to make green buildings mainstream even before the green real estate sector was set to grow out of its current niche position.
Topics: Commercial real estate; Construction industry; Environmental protection; Key issues - nicht mehr verwenden!; Natural resources; Real estate; Residential real estate; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability
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