EFN Report Winter 2018/19: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2019 and 2020

• The cyclical upswing of the world economy comes to an end, since expansionary policies in the US are expected to peter out in 2019, and the protectionist course of the US government clouds the perspectives for world trade. • However, if a major trade conflict can be avoided, chances are good that world production growth will be close to the long-run average of a bit more than 3%, with trade expanding at a similar pace. • Slowing exports, in particular to China, can partly explain the setback, while domestic conditions still appear favourable: firms continued hiring, albeit by less than before, tight labour markets in many member countries have caused wages to rise more quickly, and house prices continue to increase markedly. • Since a trend to higher inflationary dynamics is still not detectable, the ECB is likely to either keep key interest rates unchanged in 2019 or raise them very carefully at the end of the year. • All in all, we expect the euro area growth rate to come down from 1.9% in 2018 to 1.5% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020, and inflation to slightly slow down from 1.8% in 2018 to 1.6% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020.

20. December 2018

Authors European Forecasting Network

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