25 Jahre IWH

Reports des European Forecasting Network (EFN)

Das European Forecasting Network (EFN) ist eine Gruppe von Konjunkturexperten von verschiedenen europäischen Forschungseinrichtungen (darunter EUI Florenz, Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, IWH).

Seit 2001 veröffentlicht das EFN regelmäßig (seit 2005 vierteljährlich) Konjunkturprognosen für den Euroraum.

EFN Report Winter 2015/16: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2016 and 2017

European Forecasting Network

in: European Forecasting Network Reports , Nr. 1, 2016

Abstract

At present, growth in manufacturing and investment activity are weak, particularly in China but, to a lesser extent, in advanced economies as well. World activity in many service sectors, however, proves resilient. Worldwide demand is primarily backed by low interest rates and low prices for energy and commodities. However, the latter also cause serious risks for the stability of economies that are dependent on commodity export revenues. Since the sovereign debt crisis began to recede during 2013, fiscal policies have become ever less restrictive in most member states of the currency union. In 2016, fiscal policy in the euro area will even become a bit expansive. However, we expect only a moderate acceleration of the recovery in the euro area, because foreign demand will not expand by much due to the weakness of emerging market economies, and internal demand will still be dragged down by high debt levels of firms and households in many member countries. In particular, according to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.8% in 2016 and 2017, and this will be accompanied by a decline in the unemployment rate below 10%. Our inflation forecast for 2016 is 1.1%. For 2017, we expect inflation to increase up to 1.5% as during next year the dampening effects of decreasing energy prices will slowly fade off.

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EFN Report Autumn 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016

European Forecasting Network

in: European Forecasting Network Reports , Nr. 4, 2015

Abstract

For the end of this year and for 2016, chances are good that production in advanced economies will continue to expand a bit faster than at trend rates, while growth dynamics in emerging markets economies will not strengthen or even continue to decrease. Since autumn 2014, production in the euro area expands at an annualized rate of about 1.5%. The recovery appears to be broad based, with contributions from private consumption, exports, and investment into fixed capital, although it fell back in the second quarter after a strong increase at the beginning of the year. From a regional perspective, the recovery is as well quite broad based: production is expanding in almost every country, surprisingly and according to official data, including Greece. Structural impediments still limit the ability of the euro area economy to grow strongly: firms and, in particular, private households are only slowly reducing their heavy debt burdens. According to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.6% in 2015 and by 1.9% in 2016. The high increase in the number of refugees in 2015 will, in principle, positively affect private as well as public consumption, but the effect should be below 0.1 percentage points relative to GDP. Our inflation forecast for 2015 is 0.1%. For 2016, we expect that inflation will increase to 1.3%, which is still below the ECB’s target of 2%.

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EFN Report Summer 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016

European Forecasting Network

in: European Forecasting Network Reports , 2015

Abstract

External conditions for the euro area economy are still favourable, albeit somewhat less so than at the beginning of the year. Oil prices are by more than a third lower than they were on average in 2014, but about 10 USD higher than in January. Long term interest rates are still very low, but by half a percentage point higher than in January. Worldwide growth in production and trade has disappointed in the first quarter of 2015, and recent leading indicators point to no more than a slightly faster expansion of world production for the rest of the year. The risks of contagion from the Greek crisis to the partner countries appear limited, because financial exposure to the Greek banking sector has been very much reduced. The EU nowadays has instruments with considerable power to fight losses of confidence, and the other countries that received financial assistance in the euro crisis appear politically much more stable, and their economies (including that of Cyprus in the first quarter of this year) have started growing at quite satisfactory rates. According to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.6% in 2015 and by 2.1% in 2016, as negative factors slowly become less important. Both private consumption and investment will expand at a good pace, and the unemployment rate will diminish, but still remain above 10% by the end of 2016. The main risk is that the Greek crisis has a more negative effect on confidence than initially expected. Our inflation forecast for 2015 is 0.2%, with the possibility of a mild deflation not excluded. During the first quarter of 2015 rising oil prices were the main contributors to the ascending inflation expectations, while during the second quarter upward surprises over expected inflation have come from manufactured goods and services. For 2016, we expect that inflation will increase up to 1.2%, still below the 2% ECB’s target.

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EFN Report Spring 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016

European Forecasting Network

2015

Abstract

Recent movements on world markets for commodities, currencies and capital stimulate the world economy, but they entail also considerable risks: income losses of energy exporting countries might trigger financial crises with worldwide repercussions; crises might also emerge from financial distress of emerging market debtors with liabilities denominated in US dollars. Extremely low interest rates might not only trigger stock and bond price booms, but also more volatility if investors become fearful of financial bubbles. Quite a few conditions are highly beneficial for a recovery of the euro area economy: governments and large corporations benefit from ultra-low bond yields, banks’ composite costs of debt financing have been converging during the past two years to very low levels, and borrowing costs for non-financial corporations have come down markedly. Prices for stocks, bonds and (on average) houses have gone up. Real disposable incomes of private households have risen due to oil prices. The real effective exchange rate is about 10% lower in March 2015 than it was a year ago, strengthening the price competitiveness of firms in the euro area. According to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.6% in 2015 and by 2.1% in 2016. Structural impediments, however, still limit the ability of the euro area economy to grow strongly: firms and, in particular, private households are only slowly reducing their heavy debt burdens, and confidence will not fully come back in France and Italy, as long as reform processes are inconclusive in both countries and as long as unemployment is not coming down markedly. Our inflation forecast for 2015 is 0.1%, with the possibility of a mild deflation not excluded. In 2016 inflation will increase up to 1.3%, still clearly below the 2% ECB’s target. This calls for continued monetary expansion, though its effects could be limited in the absence of a complementary fiscal stimulus, in particular in those countries where the implementation of structural reforms brings long term gains but short term losses.

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EFN Report Winter 2014/15: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016

European Forecasting Network

2015

Abstract

At the beginning of the year 2015 crude oil is, with little more than 50 dollars per barrel (Brent), about 50% cheaper than in the summer 2014. The oil price hike is a stimulus for the whole world economy, even though the gains of energy users are matched by losses of the suppliers: oil producing countries frequently run high current account surpluses vis-à-vis the rest of the world. It is therefore plausible to assume that, reacting to the redistribution of incomes, the oil user countries will increase their spending by more than what will be lost in spending by producers. Investment activity in the euro area has recently been particularly weak. Remarkably, investment in Greece, Portugal, and Spain, i.e. in countries that had to accept international support during the euro crisis, has strengthened. The setback took place in the so-called core countries, including Germany. Consumption growth was also subdued. Lower oil prices, by increasing real incomes of consumers and lowering production costs for firms, should increase private consumption and, in particular, investment. Moreover, the depreciation of the euro will favour exports. Overall, according to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.3% in 2015 and by 1.6% in 2016. GDP growth is about 0.3 percentage points higher due to the impact of lower oil prices in 2015. However, these forecasts are subject to substantial uncertainty, and we do not see any significant reduction of the unemployment rate during the forecasting horizon. Our inflation forecast for 2015 is 0.3%, with the possibility of a mild deflation not excluded. In 2016 inflation will increase up to 1.1%, still clearly below the 2% ECB’s target. This calls for further monetary expansion, though its effects could be limited in the absence of a complementary fiscal stimulus. The expansionary cyclical policies should be combined with more structural reforms to enhance the competitiveness of the euro area and its growth potential, which in our forecasts remains quite limited. In fact, we expect potential output to grow by only 0.4% both in 2015 and 2016.

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