EFN Report Summer 2017: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2017 and 2018
European Forecasting Network Reports,
• Worldwide economic activity is vivid in summer 2017. Data on production for the first quarter of the year were only mixed: in the euro area quarterly growth was accelerating, but it went down in the US, Japan, and China. Other basic indicators, however, suggest that these economies continue expanding healthily. • Risks concerning the international economic policy framework remain, in particular since the economic agenda of the US government is still unclear, and no one knows whether the Brexit negotiations will lead the way to an orderly separation of Britain from the EU. • Production in the euro area has been expanding by more that 1 ½ % per year for almost three years now; since summer 2016, this expansion has even gained a bit of pace, mainly due to a expansion in France and, to a lesser extent, in Italy. • The ECB’s cautious hints at a coming normalization of monetary policy were enough to have a discernible effect on financial conditions at the end of June: yields for long term bonds rose, and the euro appreciated. That said, the common currency is still relatively cheap, and borrowing costs for non-financial firms and private households are still low. • Overall, we raise our GDP forecast for 2017 from 1.7% (spring report) to 2.1% and for 2018 to 1.8% (spring: 1.7%). We expect HICP inflation to remain well below the ECB target both in 2017 and 2018. • A major risk for the continuation of the current upswing in 2018 comes from the normalization of monetary policy: it is not clear by how much long term interests will rise and whether higher borrowing costs will jeopardize the confidence of financial markets in the solvency of some public debtors in the euro area.
Expertise in the Political Process — Benefits, Limits and Risks
Since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis, confidence in politicians as well as the economists in their advisory expert panels seems to be at an all-time low. Why do politicians reject science-based advice unless it fits into their political agenda? Are economists misunderstood by politicians and vice versa? The tension between the ideal of evidence-based policy-making and the reality of policy-based evidence-making is hardly a new phenomenon. Therefore, the expectation that Donald Trump, the Brexiteers and European populists will necessarily disappoint their voters because they simply cannot deliver what they have promised is misleading. Experts would be well advised to use the debate on the post-factual era as an impetus to reflect critically on their profession. One opinion expressed in this Zeitgespräch is that the contested societal and political impact of modern economics is due to its restricted scientific self-concept. A more open, pluralistic and transdisciplinary self-definition of economics would strengthen its societal influence. Another contributor ponders the proper incentives to persuade academic economists to provide economic policy advice. Key is the independence of advisory institutions like the German Council of Economic Experts. The selection of people with the best scientific qualifications will ensure the reputation of such institutions.
12.04.2017 • 19/2017
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2017: Upturn in Germany strengthens in spite of global economic risks
The German economy is already in the fifth year of a moderate upturn. According to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by Germany’s five leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government, capacity utilization is gradually increasing, and aggregate production capacities are now likely to have slightly exceeded their normal utilisation levels. However, cyclical dynamics remain low compared to earlier periods of recoveries, as consumption expenditures, which do not exhibit strong fluctuations, have been the main driving force so far. In addition, net migration increases potential output, counteracting a stronger capacity tightening. “Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to expand by 1.5% (1.8% adjusted for calendar effects) and 1.8% in the next year. Unemployment is expected to fall to 6.1% in 2016, to 5.7% in 2017 and 5.4% in 2018”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association. Inflation is expected to increase markedly over the forecast horizon. After an increase in consumer prices of only 0.5% in 2016, the inflation rate is expected to rise to 1.8% in 2017 and 1.7% in 2018. The public budget surplus will reduce only modestly. Public finances are slightly stimulating economic activity in the current year and are cyclically neutral in the year ahead.
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14.12.2016 • 50/2016
The German Economy: Economic Activity Spurred by Private Consumption and Construction
German economic activity remains robust due to strong domestic demand. IWH forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 1.3% in 2017. The growth rate is half a percentage point lower than in 2016 due to calendar effects and a negative contribution of external trade. Consumer price inflation also remains modest (1.3%). “Unemployment is expected to increase slightly due to a protracted integration of refugees into the labor market”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president
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11.10.2016 • 44/2016
New look and feel for IWH website
The relaunched website of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association goes live today. After the successful launch of a new corporate design at the beginning of the year, IWH now presents itself also digitally in a new and adjusted way. The redesigned website focuses on IWH’s core issues and provides information tailored to each target group. Due to the responsive design, the new website can be perfectly read and navigated on smartphones and tablets as well.
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