25 Years IWH

Reports of the European Forecasting Network (EFN)

The European Forecasting Network (EFN) is a group of macroeconomic experts from different European research institutions (such as EUI Florence, Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, IWH).

Since 2001, EFN regularly (quarterly since 2005) publishes forecasts for the euro area.

EFN Report Autumn 2014: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2014 and 2015

European Forecasting Network

2014

Abstract

In autumn 2014, world production continues to be expanding at a moderate rate, a bit faster than at the beginning of the year. A strong upswing of the world economy is, however, not in sight: the US upswing continues but is not probable to gain more pace, and the Chinese economy has to cope with severe problems in the financial and the housing sector. Important conditions for a stronger recovery are in place: the fall in financing costs allows euro area governments to conduct fiscal policies that are, on average, clearly less restrictive than in the years before, and nonfinancial firms benefit from a shrinking burden of interest payments. Interest rates for bank credit in the southern economies are now slowly going down. However, the recovery will stay sluggish as long as firms and households lack confidence in the economic policy of important member states. In fact, economic confidence in the euro area declined somewhat during summer in part due to news on the conflict between Russia and the west, although only about 5% of all exports leaving the euro area go to Russia or Ukraine. Production growth in the euro area slowed down to stagnation in the second quarter, mainly due to a decline in Germany related to a weather effect. Demand in the rest of the euro area continued to slowly expand. In this context, we forecast that the euro area economy will expand by 1.3% in 2015, after 0.9% in 2014. For 2014 and 2015, we do not see any significant reduction of the unemployment rate, because employment dynamics will stay weak due to subdued growth and the still rising participation rate in the euro area. Our inflation forecast for 2014 is 0.5%. In 2015 inflation will also remain subdued, at about 1.1%.

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EFN Report Summer 2014: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2014 and 2015

European Forecasting Network

2014

Abstract

World growth disappointed at the beginning of the year, when in the US extremely cold weather caused production to contract, the recovery in the euro area stumbled and the slowdown of the Chinese economy continued. At present, however, confidence indicators and order books point to a moderate pickup of growth in most regions. Prices on markets for energy, real and financial assets have reacted little to recent bad news about rising geopolitical risks in the Middle East and Eastern Europe up to now. A sudden increase of risk aversion or a change of believes among investors could trigger a swift deterioration of financial conditions for the world economy. In the euro area, strong stimuli from abroad are not to be expected and private households continue to keep their real spending about constant. Investment has been expanding since summer 2013, but at a very moderate rate. In this context, our forecast for GDP growth is 1.1% in 2014 and 1.6% in 2015. For 2014 and 2015, we do not see any significant reduction of the unemployment rate, because employment dynamics will stay weak due to subdued growth and the still rising participation rate in the euro area. Our inflation forecast for 2014 is 0.6%. In 2015 inflation will also remain subdued, at about 1.0%. In this context of very low price dynamics, monetary policy keeps the recovery alive: official interest rates around zero and the search for yields on financial markets have depressed yields for government bonds; the fall in financing costs allows euro area governments to conduct fiscal policies that are much less restrictive than in the years before, with tax cuts in Italy, France, and Spain starting this year. Nonfinancial firms benefit from a shrinking burden of interest payments, and the availability of bank loans for small and medium enterprises has improved since 2012 in most countries.

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EFN Report Spring 2014: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2014 and 2015

European Forecasting Network

2014

Abstract

The objective of the Report is to provide an analysis of the current and expected macroeconomic and financial conditions at the global level, with also a focus on key economic areas such as Europe, the USA and ASIA.

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EFN Report Winter 2013/14: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2014 and 2015

European Forecasting Network

2013

Abstract

During 2013, the world economy has recovered from a soft spot that had started in summer 2012, and chances are good that the speed of expansion in world production observed in the second half of 2013 will be kept up in 2014. Growth of world trade, however, is markedly lower than it should be if correlations of the past 20 years were still valid. The uncertain prospects for trade are a serious risk factor, in particular for export oriented economies, in 2014 and beyond.

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EFN Report Autumn 2013: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2013 and 2014

European Forecasting Network

2013

Abstract

In autumn 2013, the expansion of world output has slightly accelerated. The recovery in the euro area is partly a result of special effects such as a rebound of construction after a particularly cold winter. Other positive factors, however, are longer lasting. Above all, doubts about the future of the currency union have receded substantially. As a consequence, private households and firms are more prepared to take spending decisions. For these reasons, we have revised upward our GDP forecasts for 2013, to -0.3 per cent lower in 2013 than in 2012 (from -0.5 expected in the summer). For 2014, we expect a GDP growth of about 1.0% that will keep unemployment at similar levels to the ones observed in 2013 (12.3%). Our inflation expectations for 2013 have moderated to a y-o-y rate of 1.5%, and they remain subdued also in 2014, at about 1.4%.

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