Saturday, 25 November, 2017

European Union autumn forecast bumps up Bulgaria 2017 growth estimate to 3.9%

The Brandenburg Gate reflected by a puddle on Pariser Platz Square in Berlin Germany Tuesday Nov. 7 2017 The Brandenburg Gate reflected by a puddle on Pariser Platz Square in Berlin Germany Tuesday Nov. 7 2017
Jeannie Matthews | 10 November, 2017, 01:10

However, citing slowing employment growth, lower increases in real disposable incomes and moderating investment growth, the commission said Eurozone growth would moderate slightly over the forecast horizon, to 2.1 percent in 2018.

In its half-yearly health check, the commission sharply cut its forecast for United Kingdom growth this year and said it was likely to continue struggling in 2018 and 2019 even on the assumption that trade would not be disrupted by its departure from the EU.

Macron is now pushing through significant labor reforms in France and hopes around those reforms, combined with his repeated calls for enhanced European economic cooperation and consolidation, have helped push growth expectations for France for 2017 up to 1.6 percent from the earlier 1.4 percent.

The Commission had previously forecast growth for the year of 1.7 percent, but its autumn economic outlook sharply revises the figure on the back of surprisingly strong GDP growth figures announced for the third quarter last month.

Strong export growth, particularly in services, and a fall in imports related to the contraction in investment is pushing up the current account surplus, which is forecast to approach 10% of GDP in 2017.

As a result United Kingdom economic growth is seen slowing to 1.3% in 2018 before slumping to 1.1% in the year of Brexit. Malta is the best performer, with growth of 5.6% in 2017, 4.9% in 2018 and 4.1% in 2019.

The EC said growth this year is supported by private consumption and rebounding investment.

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Growth in 2018 is to slow to 2.1 percent and to 1.9 percent in 2019, the Commission said. Monthly government statistics to date suggest that the 2017 general government primary balance target (1.75 pct of GDP in terms of the ESM programme definition) will be met, with the balance of risks tilted to the upside.

Tax revenues in 2018 are predicted to continue growing due strong to real GDP growth, despite a reduction in taxation.

Pierre Moscovici, the European Union commissioner for economic and financial affairs, said: "We have entered a new phase of the economic recovery, with stronger growth driven by resilient consumption, the global upswing, loose financing conditions and falling unemployment".

"Investment is also picking up amid favorable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded", it added. The economies of all Member States are expanding and their labour markets improving, but wages are rising only slowly.

"Based on a purely technical assumption of status quo in terms of trading relations between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, growth is still expected to remain subdued over the forecast horizon". Previously, the European Union had expected 9.4% unemployment this year and 8.9% in 2018.

Unit labour costs are projected to rise faster than the euro-area average in 2018 and 2019.

"Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases".

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