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IWH-Bauumfrage im Juni 2007: Zurück zur Normalität?

Die 300 vom IWH befragten ostdeutschen Bauunternehmen bewerteten sowohl die Geschäftslage als auch die Geschäftsaussichten im Juni per saldo schlechter als noch vor einem Jahr. Gegenüber der Umfrage im April zeigt sich dagegen in den originären Lageurteilen eine Besserung. Der Aufwärtsbewegung fehlt es allerdings an dem sonst üblichen frühsommerlichen Schwung, so daß sich unter Ausschluß der Saisoneffekte die Geschäftslage im Verlauf nochmals um zehn Saldenpunkte verschlechtert hat. Diese Entwicklung ist immer noch als ein Stück des Wegs zurück zur Normalität anzusehen.

18. July 2007

Authors Brigitte Loose

Also in this issue

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Aktuelle Trends: Hartz IV: Abbau von Fehlanreizen bei unter 25jährigen zeigt Wirkung

Joachim Wilde Gabriele Hardt

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

Nach der Zusammenlegung von Arbeitslosenhilfe und Sozialhilfe für Erwerbsfähige zum neuen Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG II) stiegen die Empfängerzahlen stärker als erwartet an. Gab es zum Zeitpunkt der Einführung im Januar 2005 noch 4,5 Millionen Leistungsbezieher, waren es im Januar 2006 5,3 Millionen und zum bisherigen Höhepunkt im April 2006 5,5 Millionen. Die Ursachen für diese Entwicklung sind vielfältig. So ist beispielsweise ein deutlicher Rückgang des Anteils derjenigen zu vermuten, die einen vorhandenen Leistungsanspruch nicht geltend gemacht haben (bei der Sozialhilfe schätzungsweise rund 45% der Haushalte).

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Editorial

Joachim Wilde

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

Mit dem soeben verabschiedeten zweiten Mittelstandsentlastungsgesetz wird der Bürokratieabbau in Deutschland weiter vorangetrieben. Das dabei verfolgte Anliegen, Unternehmen von überflüssigem Ballast zu befreien, ist sehr zu begrüßen. Problematisch wird es jedoch, wenn die Reduktion zu einem Wert an sich wird, ohne daß die dadurch entstehenden Verluste gegengerechnet werden.

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Will new IMF-Instrument prevent currency crises?

Tobias Knedlik Johannes Ströbel

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

The resent experience with currency crises shows that not only economies with weak fundamentals are hit by crises. After long-lasting discussions of appropriate instruments to reduce the risk for currency crises in emerging market economies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) presented a new proposal of an instrument: the Reserve Augmentation Line (RAL). This new proposal shows that at the current state such an instrument is not available. This contribution confronts the RAL proposal with theoretically derived requirements on preventive liquidity instruments. It shows that only limited preventive effects can be expected. The limitation of the instrument to 300 percent of the quota and the unsolved problem of sending negative signals to the market if countries apply for the instrument are the main drawbacks. However, the RAL would enable the IMF for the first time to provide liquidity immediately in the case of the crisis after pre-qualification. Thus, the instrument fulfills one important request from the academic discussions.

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Institutionelle Defizite und wachsende Spannungen in der Euro-Zone

Hubert Gabrisch

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

The introduction of the Euro was certainly a success. Nevertheless, behind this success one may find some increasing asymmetries and imbalances across member countries, which may undermine the stability of the common currency in the long run. Tensions include the paralysis of fiscal policy, increasing divergence in per capita income, a high volatility of real state prices, and diverging unit labour cost developments. The given forms of macroeconomic coordination seem not to be appropriate to mitigate the problems. Obviously, countries can compete with wage policy only after currencies and their exchange rates were abolished, and the use of fiscal policy has been restricted. In particular, Germany and Austria were successful in competitive wage policy, while countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and also France did not yet use the competitiveness channel. Germany was able to reduce its unit labour costs more than other countries by labour market reforms and higher indirect taxes in replacing social taxes. However, the advantage may proof to be temporary only, for other countries will be forced to follow the German example. Given an ECB inflation target of 2 %, more competitive wage policy in the Euro area might jeopardize the stability of the currency through deflation and higher unemployment. It does not wonder that the discussion on other and new forms of macroeconomic coordination revived recently. This debate does not only include the introduction of a central EU budget with anti-cyclical effects, but also forms of direct and indirect coordination of national wage policies. In any case, it would be useful to oblige national wage policies to obey the common interest of the Union.

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IWH-Industrieumfrage im Mai 2007: Kräftige Konjunktur beflügelt Stimmung

Cornelia Lang

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

Im Verarbeitenden Gewerbe Ostdeutschlands laufen die Geschäfte derzeit sehr gut. Das zeigen die Ergebnisse der IWH-Industrieumfrage vom Mai unter rund 300 Unternehmen. Nachdem bislang die gute Stimmung vor allem von den mittleren und großen Unternehmen getragen wurde, ziehen jetzt die kleinen Unternehmen nach.

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East German Economy: Demand Push Stronger than Structural Deficiencies

Arbeitskreis Konjunktur Ostdeutschland

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

In 2006, growth of production was surprisingly strong in Eastern Germany. The structural deficiencies there would have suggested a slower pace. In particular, linkages with national and international business cycles have been underestimated. To a large part, the reason why output grew by 3 per cent did not come from Eastern Germany itself, but from the Old Länder and from abroad. In the New Länder, the strong upward swing in investment activity stimulated the economy. However, owing to a small increase in total income of private households, their purchasing power lagged behind. The improved ability of East German firms to absorb cyclical impulses from exports and from Germany’s general investment activity proved to be a crucial factor. In particular, the endowment of workplaces with modern production facilities as well as the continued reduction in the disadvantages with respect to cost-competitiveness in the tradable goods sector were beneficial. The labour cost advantage compared to West German competitors increased further while the disadvantage compared to those from Central and Eastern Europe decreased. Benefiting from these factors, economic activity in Eastern Germany will grow faster than in the Old Länder as long as the upswing in Germany and abroad remains strong. In 2007 and 2008, investments – especially in equipment – and exports will be the driving forces again. For exports, the strongly expanding markets in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in Russia will gain in importance. As income and employment prospects improve, private consumption will support the growth in production. Registered unemployment should decrease below the 1-million threshold. Manufacturing will remain the primary force of the upswing; its advantages in production costs will not vanish as long as, even in presence of scarcity of skilled labour, salaries and wages do not increase more than in Western Germany. In the wake of robust economic growth, the New Länder will make further progress in catching up with respect to production and income. Companies will regain support from the banking industry. Yet, investment capital still stems from public funding programmes to a non-negligible extent. In the medium run, access to credit will ease as a result of further improvements in the firms’ net worth position. However, dependency on internal funds remains high and exposes companies to comparatively strong cyclical risks. In an economic downturn, the structural deficiencies of the East German economy will impair economic expansion.

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Russia: Importance of the Energy Sector for the Economic Growth Remains High

Martina Kämpfe

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2007

Abstract

In 2006, Russian economic growth was once more driven by surging private consumption and investment. Thanks to the high energy prices, the boom in export revenues continued. Enterprises had increased earnings from oil and other natural resources, and also the government budget had high surpluses. Both led to significantly faster growth of investments. Construction sector and industry benefited from rising investments, but domestic demand of investment and consumption also covered by increased imports. The importance of the energy sector for the economy remains high. But sustainable long-term growth will require even more investment as well as substantial improvements in economic restructuring.

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