ECB improves climate for equities

europebynight3The surprise but welcome rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB) has improved the climate for equities, says Robeco’s portfolio manager for Global Allocations. The rally in share prices driven by extra liquidity from monetary easing throughout this year is likely to continue, Lukas Daalder believes.  As a result, Robeco Asset Allocation has increased its overweight position to equities. At the same time, underweight positions in government bonds have been raised, as lower rates means reduced yields on sovereign debt, Daalder says. Continue reading “ECB improves climate for equities”

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EU citizens pay 20 times too much for traffic noise reduction

europebynight3Until 2017, European governments will be spending  125 billion euros for noise barriers, quieter roads and measures related to the negative effects of traffic noise, including damage to health. However, by simply making cars quieter, the total cost to the taxpayer could be reduced by a factor of twenty. All the more remarkable, then, that no legislation is forthcoming, says Paul de Vos, strategic advisor at engineering and consultancy firm Royal HaskoningDHV. Continue reading “EU citizens pay 20 times too much for traffic noise reduction”

Port of Rotterdam to have annual meeting with EU Commission

terminalPrime Minister Rutte, entrepreneurs from the port of Rotterdam, representatives of the Port of Rotterdam Authority as well as the chairman of employers’ organisation Deltalinqs met with Vice-President of the European Commission Kallas and European Commissioner Oettinger. Continue reading “Port of Rotterdam to have annual meeting with EU Commission”

Details of the EU-Canada trade deal

caneuCanada and the European Union last Friday reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after months of intense negotiations between EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Canadian trade Minister Ed Fast. It will be the first free trade agreement between the European Union and a G8 country. Boosting trade relations with Canada will generate new opportunities for growth and the creation of jobs in the EU. On the basis of this political breakthrough, the negotiators will now be able to continue the process and settle all the remaining technical issues. Subsequently, the agreement will need to be approved by Council and Parliament.

The EU-Canada agreement will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market Continue reading “Details of the EU-Canada trade deal”

Top 100 EU regulations cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year

europebynight3EU leaders will meet in Brussels this week to discuss ways to improve growth and competitiveness across Europe. Ahead of this meeting, Open Europe has published a list of the 100 most costly EU regulations to the UK economy. Using data from the UK Government’s impact assessments of these rules, Open Europe estimates that the top 100 EU laws cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year. This is more than what the UK Treasury expects to raise in revenue from Council Tax this year (£27 billion). Continue reading “Top 100 EU regulations cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year”

Japan, C Europe show fastest employment growth

logooecd_enThe OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age who are employed – was 65.1% in the second quarter of 2013, 0.1 percentage point higher than in the previous quarter. This was still 1.4 percentage points below the level recorded in the second quarter of 2008, the quarter preceding the start of the global financial crisis.    Continue reading “Japan, C Europe show fastest employment growth”

Emerging Europe and Central Asia on the rebound

europebynight3Economic growth in the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region suffered during the global financial and Eurozone crises but has started to rebound, with projected modest growth rates of 2.2. percent in 2013 and 3.1 percent in 2014, World Bank officials said at a press briefing during the 2013 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. However, compared to other regions in the world, the ECA region has had the slowest recovery of growth and remains vulnerable to risks in a dynamic global economy. Continue reading “Emerging Europe and Central Asia on the rebound”

Economic Sentiment rises further in both the euro area and the EU

In September the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 1.6 points in the euro area (to 96.9) and 2.4 points in the EU (to 100.6). The sharp increase in the EU brought the indicator above its long-term average for the first time since July 2011.

ESI indicator

The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) conducts regular harmonised surveys for different sectors of the economies in the European Union (EU) and in the applicant countries. They are addressed to representatives of the industry (manufacturing), the services, retail trade and construction sectors, as well as to consumers. These surveys allow comparisons among different countries’ business cycles and have become an indispensable tool for monitoring the evolution of the EU and the euro area economies, as well as monitoring developments in the applicant countries.

From Europa.eu

Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding

europebynight3Slowdown in consumption, stalled investment demand, and a continuing weak external environment led to the downward revision of the World Bank’s May growth projection for Russia from 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent in 2013. Despite the observed slowdown, the Russian economy is projected to accelerate to 3.1 percent growth in 2014, says the World Bank’s Russian Economic Report №30. Continue reading “Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding”

The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanI am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I’ve had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama’s failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many aspects, and one of the most important ones, which was not fully examined, was what it told us about the state of U.S.-European relations and of relations among European countries. This is perhaps the most important question on the table.

We have spoken of the Russians, but for all the flash in their Syria performance, they are economically and militarily weak — something they would change if they had the means to do so. It is Europe, taken as a whole, that is the competitor for the United States. Its economy is still slightly larger than the United States’, and its military is weak, though unlike Russia this is partly by design. Continue reading “The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now”

Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?

By Arnout Nuijt

Angela MerkelYes, Federal Chancellor Mrs Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance won an astounding victory in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday September 22nd and that is exactly her problem now. Her party failed to win an absolute majority in the Bundestag by a narrow margin. Much worse, her preferred coalition partner, the liberal FDP, was soundly defeated and lost two thirds of its voters. This left it with a mere 4,8% of the votes, just below the minimum of 5% required to obtain seats. A disaster for the FDP and a setback for Mrs Merkel, who will now have to negotiate forming a government with either the social-democratic SPD or even the Greens.

The last option seems highly unlikely, as CDU-CSU and Greens have little in common. Nor for that matter is the SPD eager to govern again under these circumstances, given the history of running a grand coalition before 2009 (often referred to as a fighting coalition). It was also an experience that alienated many of the SPD’s voters in the 2009 elections. Though the Continue reading “Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?”

German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states

europebynight3Open Europe and Open Europe Berlin have published the second part of a poll looking at German voters’ views on Europe ahead of the country’s elections on 22 September. The poll, conducted by YouGov Deutschland, shows that there’s considerable support in Germany for slimming down the EU. Of 13 national and European institutions tested, Germans have the least trust in the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Open Europe Director Mats Persson said: “Though Germany will remain strongly wedded to Europe, once the question of EU powers is boiled down to specific policies, there’s widespread support amongst German public opinion for the return of powers from Brussels to member states, further reinforcing the view that there’s a growing appetite across the continent for less Europe in many areas.” And: “A clear majority of Germans also believe that a British EU exit would be very damaging for Germany and the EU, and therefore want the next Chancellor to actively strive to keep the UK on board, even if France is still seen as Germany’s key ally in Europe.” Check out the key findings. Continue reading “German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states”

Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy

europebynight3Open Europe has published an in-depth analysis of the German federal elections, to be held on 22 September, as the second part of its three part series covering German sentiment on Europe. Open Europe predicts possible coalition outcomes for the new government, and provide a detailed investigation of German party positions on key aspects of eurozone policy, and outline where we expect movements after the elections. Continue reading “Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy”

What should we do with the Benelux?

By Arnout Nuijt

logo_Benelux_topOn the last day of the previous year an interesting bit of news floated around in the Low Countries, but it may have been lost in the loud bangs of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. According to Luc Willems, deputy secretary-general of the Benelux Union, the Benelux would like to see a single market for mobile telephony in the three countries. The Benelux in 2013 will study the possibilities for creating such a single market, without roaming fees. That is of course good news for consumers as well as businesses, and it could also serve as a test for a similar move to a single EU market.

Yes, it has been a nuisance for years when, traveling between Belgium and The Netherlands (or between any two given EU nations), you loose your mobile connection the very moment you are crossing the border. While you wait for the text message coming in from the local provider saying that you are now on their network, you may wonder what it actually means to live in a EU single market. Once you have crossed the border – which is an increasingly diminishing concept within the EU, especially in the case of the one between Holland and Belgium -, the cost of your phone calls will rise significantly, because telecom companies say you are “roaming”.

Wow, after decades of deepening European economic integration and years of an EU single market, the ups and downs of the Euro Zone and a plethora of other treaties, telecom providers are still free to charge their customers more once they cross a border? Yes, somehow they can and they are getting away with it all the time… But where the EU has apparently not been capable of bringing change and helping its citizens and businesses to bring down cost, the Benelux has now taken an initiative. The Benelux, the Benelux, you are saying, yeah, I have heard about it, but do they still exist? Yes, they do, and they may be making a comeback of sorts. Continue reading “What should we do with the Benelux?”