La concurrence, frein et moteur de l'investissement
[eng] Competition, as both a brake and an engine of investments OFCE For the past year, the main engine of the european upturn has been the improved exchange rate and liquidity background. European exports are regaining market shares, especially in the case of Germany. The investment plans of European firms are more upbeat, though many larger countries, Germany, France and Italy are lagging. Private consumption growth is still vulnerable to a possible comeback of a cautious stance. Domestic policy-mixes as well as a revival of European coordination bear some responsibility in strengthening the current recovery. Would this responsability be yet fulfilled, a 3 % growth rate could be achieved in 1998 for Europe as a whole. The US growth outlook is consistent with a higher dollar exchange rate, in favour of the European growth (1,9 DM in 1998). American companies ease the growth process through efficient investments raising profits and jobs. During the year 1997 the monetary policy kept supporting growth. A moderate tightening is foreseeable before the end of 1997. The slowdown of growth in 1998 (2,6 % after 3,8 % in 1998) would allow for a better fitting of private behaviours to a credible monetary policy. The Japanese economy has recorded a new drop during the spring of 1997, offsetting the anticipated purchases triggered by the 1st April VAT increase. The monetary easing is, in the short run, unable to balance the effects of the restrictive fiscal policy. The main support of the activity is the yen's depreciation, as it helped stabilize market shares for one year. The limited outcome of the South East Asian financial crisis would not hinder the positive contribution of foreign trade to the 1998 growth (2,5 % after 0,9 % in 1997). In France, economic growth is taking off slowly, mainly thanks to the contribution of the foreign trade. The destocking, a lack-luster private consumption and the setback of investment have dampened the domestic demand. However, the turning
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