Germany Signals Eased Rules on Infrastructure Investments

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signaled that Germany’s government will make it easier for insurers and other financial companies to make “safe and profitable” investments, including in infrastructure projects.

The government will give pools of capital “more regulatory leeway” to invest in financial vehicles including a planned national highway operator if they increase their capital base, Schaeuble said at a conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

“Life insurers should be able to invest more in real” assets, “but then they must of course set more capital aside,” he said. “This way we create more leeway for financial intermediaries in Germany, in Europe, to invest more in real assets, whether it’s public infrastructure or private infrastructure.”

Institutions including the International Monetary Fund are urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to boost investment in Germany to spur economic growth in the euro area. A set of proposals published last week said Germany has a “significant weakness” of private and public investment.

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