Reports of the European Forecasting Network (EFN)
The European Forecasting Network (EFN) was a group of macroeconomic experts from different European research institutions (such as EUI Florence, Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, IWH).
From 2001 until the beginning of 2019, EFN regularly (quarterly since 2005) published forecasts for the euro area.
EFN Report Summer 2016: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2016 and 2017
in: EFN Reports, No. 3, 2016
Short run consequences of Brexit for the euro area economy mainly depend on the effects on confidence in the stability of the European Union and the currency area in particular. Anti-European (or indeed anti-globalization) movements are certainly encouraged by the British vote. More important, however, might be a reverse effect: from the perspective of the British turmoil, the euro area might in the near future appear as a zone of relative stability and calm. Against the background of a sluggish world economy, the euro area economy recently performed reasonably well: dynamics have been slowly increasing since 2013, and the rate of expansion in the first quarter of 2016 was one of the highest of the past couple of years. Looking forward, the drivers of the recovery should continue supporting growth in the second half of 2016 and for much of 2017. Our forecast is that euro area GDP will expand by 1.7% in 2016 and by 1.6% in 2017, with only a minor effect from Brexit. This year, like in 2015, average oil prices will probably be markedly lower than they were a year ago, supporting real incomes of private households and lowering production costs of firms, and monetary policy will still be supportive. Labour markets appear to continue improving slowly. Associated with the improved economic conditions, we expect a slight increase in euro area inflation during 2016, 0.3%, with a more marked increase in 2017, 1,3%.
EFN Report Spring 2016: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2016 and 2017
No. 2, 2016
Global growth will stay rather moderate this year. The peak of the upswing in the US appears to be over. For Japan, after three years of “Abenomics”, a prolonged upswing is still elusive. In China low profitability and high debt levels of many government-owned industrial firms continue to drag growth down. The low prices for commodities heighten uncertainty and volatility on financial markets since they increase the risks of financial crises in economies that are dependent on commodity exports. In the euro area, chances for the recovery to continue are good, as this year, like in 2015, oil prices will probably be markedly lower than they were a year ago, supporting real income of private households and lowering production costs of firms. In this context, our forecast is that euro area GDP will expand by 1.6% in 2016 and by 1.7% in 2017. These rates are higher than the rate of potential growth, but they are arguably low given the expansive monetary policy and the strong stimulus from decreased commodity prices. We do not expect an increase in euro area inflation during 2016, but prices will grow by around 1% in 2017, because the dampening effects of decreasing energy prices slowly fade off and the euro remains rather weak. However, risks for this cautiously optimistic forecast are substantial. New shadows on the financial sector, the uncertainty about whether or not the British will vote in favour of membership in the European Union and the lack of a viable political solution for the refugee crisis are some of the main uncertainties behind these forecasts.
EFN Report Winter 2015/16: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2016 and 2017
No. 1, 2016
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.
EFN Report Autumn 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016
No. 4, 2015
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%.
EFN Report Summer 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016
No. 3, 2015
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.