Economic policy

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1 20.07.2017 Germany Monitor
Germany’s fiscal situation: Full employment and zero interest rates result in budget surpluses – but demographic development might become a problem!
Abstract: In an international comparison, Germany’s fiscal situation is very good – thanks to robust GDP growth and zero interest rates. In the short to medium term, dynamic revenue growth should help to ensure that Germany’s fiscal situation remains comfortable, even though expenses look set to rise strongly as well. Public finances are currently benefiting from buoyant growth, low interest rates and a “demographic respite”. Rising interest rates and the ageing society look set to put the public finances under considerable pressure from the middle of the coming decade. However, the long-term fiscal risks do not appear to play a major role in the current election campaign.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Fiscal policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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2 18.07.2017 Deutschland-Monitor
Parteien schreiben Zukunftsvorsorge zu klein
Abstract: Die sozialpolitische Debatte in Deutschland ist erscheint paradox. Trotz steigender Sozialausgaben konstatieren manche Kritiker eine soziale Schieflage. Aber der Sozialschutz wirkt weithin, während die Sozialsystem profitieren von der guten Konjunktur. Auch für die Zukunft scheint eine weitere Expansion des Sozialstaates angelegt, wenn man an die demografische Entwicklung denkt und zugleich die Vorschläge der Parteien im Wahlkampf betrachtet. Zukunftsvorsorge der Sozialsysteme spielt nur die zweite Geige, obwohl den Steuer- und Beitragszahlern schon jetzt vermeidbare Belastungen aufgebürdet werden.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Germany; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Social policy
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3 18.07.2017 Germany Monitor
Parties not focusing enough on sustainability
Abstract: The debate over welfare policy in Germany appears to be paradoxical. Albeit steadily rising social spending, some critics believe that there is a social imbalance. But social security continues to have a positive impact while the welfare system is benefiting from the positive economic development. A further expansion of the welfare state is in the cards given not only the demographic trend but also the parties’ proposals in the current election campaigns. Sustainability of the welfare system is playing second fiddle only despite the fact that already taxpayers are burdened with avoidable costs.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Germany; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Social policy
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4 10.07.2017 Deutschland-Monitor
Deutsche Staatsfinanzen: Überschüsse dank Vollbeschäftigung und Nullzins, aber Demografie droht!
Abstract: Die deutschen Staatsfinanzen stehen derzeit im internationalen Vergleich sehr gut da, dank starker Konjunktur und Nullzinsen. Die günstige Entwicklung der deutschen Staatsfinanzen dürfte kurz- bis mittelfristig aufgrund dynamisch wachsender Staatseinnahmen – und trotz hohem Ausgabenwachstum – andauern. Die Staatsfinanzen profitieren derzeit sehr stark von einer brummenden Wirtschaft, Niedrigzinsen und einer „demografischen Atempause“. Steigende Zinsen und eine alternde Gesellschaft dürften die öffentlichen Finanzen ab Mitte der nächsten Dekade erheblich unter Druck setzen. Doch die langfristigen Risiken für die Staatsfinanzen scheinen im aktuellen Bundestagswahlkampf keine größere Rolle zu spielen.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Fiscal policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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5 07.07.2017 Aktuelle Themen
Ausblick Deutschland: Überhitzungsrisiken drohen
Abstract: Die deutsche Wirtschaft dürfte auch im zweiten Quartal ihr kräftiges Wachstumstempo beibehalten haben. Insbesondere der Konsum entwickelt sich dank zuletzt wieder sinkender Ölpreise und weiter kräftig steigender Beschäftigung günstiger als erwartet. Wir haben unsere BIP-Prognose für das Gesamtjahr auf 1,6% (1,3%) angehoben, was einer kalenderbereinigten Rate von 2% entspricht. Auch in 2018 dürfte das deutsche BIP mit 1,7% bereits das fünfte Jahr in Folge über der Potenzialrate von 1 ¼% wachsen. Die Outputlücke dürfte dann auf über 2pp steigen. Der enge Arbeitsmarkt könnte bei den Anfang 2018 anstehenden Tarifverhandlungen (Metall, Öffentlicher Sektor und Bau) zu steigenden Lohnabschlüssen von teilweise deutlich über 3% führen. Vor dem Hintergrund zusätzlicher fiskalischer Impulse nach der Bundestagswahl und einer weiterhin extrem lockeren Geldpolitik steigt das Überhitzungsrisiko zumindest in Teilbereichen der deutschen Volkswirtschaft zusehends an. Jedoch dürfte die Inflationsrate bis weit in das Jahr 2018 noch unter 2% liegen, nicht zuletzt weil wir keine Abwertung des EUR gegenüber dem USD mehr erwarten. (Weitere Themen dieser Ausgabe: Hauspreise; EZB-Politik)
Topics: Business cycle; Economic policy; European issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Real estate; Residential real estate
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6 07.07.2017 Current Issues
Focus Germany: Overheating risks are looming
Abstract: The German economy is likely to have maintained its rapid growth rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending, in particular, has been stronger than expected thanks to the recent fall in oil prices and the continuing significant rise in employment levels. We have revised our GDP forecast for the whole year upwards to 1.6% (1.3%) which is equivalent to a calendar-adjusted rate of 2%. With an expected increase of 1.7% in 2018, German GDP is again likely to exceed the trend growth rate of around 1.25% – for the fifth successive year – and the positive output gap should widen to over two percentage points. The tight labour market could lead to increases in pay settlements of more than 3% during the round of collective pay bargaining (public sector, construction and metals) set to take place in early 2018, especially as these deals that are due to expire were originally negotiated some time ago, which signals some catch-up potential. Against the backdrop of additional fiscal stimuli after the Bundestag election, and monetary policy remaining extremely relaxed, the risk of overheating, at least in parts of the German economy, is increasing. However, the rate of (consumer price) inflation over the coming two years should remain below 2%, especially as we are not anticipating a depreciation of the euro against the US dollar. (Further topics: German house prices; The View from Berlin)
Topics: Business cycle; Economic policy; European issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Macroeconomics; Monetary policy; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends
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7 06.06.2017 Current Issues
Focus Germany: Strong economy supports Merkel’s re-election chances
Abstract: After Q1’s sturdy 0.6% qoq GDP growth, soft indicators do not signal any moderation of the growth momentum. Employment in 2017 so far, has been expanding at similar clip as in 2016, making our 1% consumption forecast for 2017 quite conservative. Exports have rebounded in the winter half – in line with global trade. The growth momentum of global trade seems to have peaked; therefore, we remain cautious, predicting 3.6% German export growth in 2017 after 2.7% last year. In combination with lingering geo-political uncertainty this will weigh on investment spending, where a utilization rate of 2pp above its long-term average suggests a still limited necessity to invest. Following Q1 GDP growth of 0.6% we have revised our 2017 GDP forecast to 1.3% (1.1%). Latest confidence surveys, however, hint at further upside potential and increasing risks of over-heating for 2018. Political observers in Germany have recently been focusing on the SPD’s ups and downs in the polls and the CDU’s reverse showing while smaller parties are fighting for public attention. From the present point of view (polls) a Jamaica coalition is the sole arithmetically feasible alternative to a renewed grand coalition after the September election. (Further topics: German industrial output – forecast for 2017; Corporate funding in Q1 – lending)
Topics: Auto industry; Banking; Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; European issues; Exchange rates; Germany; Global financial markets; International capital markets; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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8 05.05.2017 Current Issues
Focus Germany: Positive signs
Abstract: Growth in global trade almost stagnated at just 1.3% in 2016, and in some months was even negative. During winter, global trade picked up again, rising by around 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. Given the positive sentiment prevailing across the globe, this rebound could well continue. However, this trend is not yet being fully reflected in other hard economic indicators, usually highly correlated with global trade, and sentiment may therefore overstate the actual trend a little. Still, our simple model of world trade, which suggests moderate growth of just over 2% in 2017 and around 3% in 2018 might represent the lower limit of the forecast range. However, compared to previous cycles the upturn could remain weak, not least because of the global trade restrictions that have been progressively ratcheted up since 2008. (Further articles: Germany’s employment miracle, German election campaign not in full swing, yet)
Topics: Business cycle; Economic growth; Economic policy; Exchange rates; Germany; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Prices, inflation; Real econ. trends; Sectors / commodities; Trade
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9 28.04.2017 Talking Point
Diesel: prematurely written off?
Abstract: The diesel scandal and political uncertainty surrounding future regulation are the main reasons why the proportion of vehicle registrations accounted for by diesel cars has slumped recently in Germany and most other EU countries. If the automotive industry wants to continue to rely on diesel technology, it needs to regain credibility and get to grips with the issue of emissions – including in real-world driving conditions. If it doesn't manage to do this, lawmakers are likely to progressively tighten the regulatory framework for diesel cars. However, should the industry succeed in bringing to market clean diesel cars at affordable prices, these cars would remain the most economical option for a large proportion of motorists – at least until alternative drive technologies become competitive from the customer perspective. This would make current proclamations of the death of diesel somewhat premature.
Topics: Auto industry; Economic policy; Energy policy; Environmental policy; Germany; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Transport policy
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10 27.04.2017 Aktueller Kommentar
Diesel: Totgesagte leben länger?
Abstract: Der Diesel-Skandal sowie politische Unsicherheiten über die künftige Regulierung sind maßgeblich dafür, dass der Anteil von Diesel-Autos an den Pkw-Neuzulassungen in Deutschland und in den meisten anderen EU-Ländern zuletzt deutlich gesunken ist. Will die Automobilindustrie weiter auf die Diesel-Technologie setzen, muss sie die Schadstoffproblematik auch im realen Fahrbetrieb glaubhaft in den Griff bekommen. Gelingt dies nicht, dürfte der Gesetzgeber die regulatorischen Rahmenbedingungen für Diesel-Autos Schritt für Schritt verschlechtern. Schafft es die Branche jedoch, saubere Diesel-Pkw zu wirtschaftlich vertretbaren Preisen auf den Markt zu bringen, werden diese Autos für einen großen Teil der Autofahrer solange lukrativ sein, bis alternative Antriebstechnologien aus Sicht des Kunden wettbewerbsfähig sind. Der aktuelle Abgesang auf die Diesel-Technologie käme dann zu früh.
Topics: Auto industry; Economic policy; Energy policy; Environmental policy; Germany; Natural resources; Sectors / commodities; Sustainability; Transport policy
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