According to the current survey for February (conducted between 31 January 2017 and 17 February 2017), the economic outlook for China has improved slightly. The CEP Indicator, which reflects the expectations of international financial market experts regarding China’s macroeconomic development over the coming twelve months, has risen by 1.7 points compared to the previous month to a current total of minus 4.2 points. This falls far below the current long-term average of 4.8 points.
There is a wide variety of possible ways for companies to use social media to bring them greater market success. However, many of these companies are still not exploiting the potential of social media to the fullest, for example, when it comes to improving their products and services. The fact that these opportunities are going to waste is alarming considering that one in every two companies in the information economy active on social media already expects the role that social media plays in a business' success to continue to increase in importance over the next two years. By contrast, only around a quarter of these companies view social media as currently playing a very important role in a company's success. These are the findings of a recent survey carried out among companies in the German information economy by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim.
The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany records a decrease of 6.2 points in February 2017. The indicator now stands at 10.4 points. "The downturn in expectations is likely to be the result of the recently published unfavourable figures for industrial production, retail sales and exports. Political uncertainty regarding Brexit, the future US economic policy as well as the considerable number of upcoming elections in Europe further depresses expectations. Nevertheless, the economic environment in Germany has not significantly worsened," comments ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach.
The aggressive tax planning efforts of multinational companies such as Google, Apple or Amazon that are aimed at effectively reducing corporate tax burdens have been the subject of public discussion for several years now. In order to combat such aggressive strategies and increase transparency in financial reporting, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission have proposed something called Country-by-Country-Reporting (CbCR). Through CbCR, policy-makers intend to oblige multinational companies to disclose certain country-specific tax-related information. However, a recent study carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim shows that a CbCR is not an effective means for combatting aggressive tax planning.
Brexit, Trump, refugees and the eurozone crisis – in light of these serious problems facing Europe, what does the future hold for the European Union? On 1 February 2017, Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, former President of the ifo-Institute and one of Germany's most outspoken economists, laid out his 15 Point Programme for the Re-establishment of Europe Post-Brexit and highlighted which reforms Germany and the EU urgently needed to implement. Around 350 guests and leading figures from the worlds of politics, science and economics gathered at the Mannheim Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) and listened intently to Sinn's presentation, which was part of the lecture series First-Hand Information on Economic Policy.