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