Author Archive

Swiss policy mix review

The Swiss federal budget is governed by a strict expenditure rule, which is enshrined in the Constitution. Since its introduction, the ratio of public debt-to-GDP has been significantly reduced, falling back to its early-90s level. At the close of 2018, the Swiss federal budget registered a significant surplus of CHF 2.9 billion, compared with budget […]

Switzerland: Lower growth, lower inflation

The Swiss economy posted impressive GDP growth in 2018, although there was significant divergence between strong growth in the first half and stagnation in the second. Overall, we expect Swiss GDP to expand by 1.3% in 2019, down substantially from 2.5% in 2018. Risks to our growth outlook for Switzerland are tilted to the downside. […]

Q&A on European Parliament elections

European Parliament (EP) elections will be a key political event in Europe, a form of ‘midterm election’ in which the electorates can state their approval or disapproval of their respective national governments. Turnout in EP elections has been on a downward trend over the past four decades, dropping from 62% to 43% since 1979. A crucial question is whether […]

Germany: signs of rebound?

Germany’s leading indicator, the Ifo index, rose in March, driven by an increase in both sub-components: current assessment and expectations. The Ifo index differs in make-up from Markit’s purchasing manager indices, but at the sector level, the story is the same: the more domestically-driven services sector is showing signs of resilience, while the most export-oriented […]

German economy set to recover

Germany’s economy weakened significantly in the second half of 2018. External headwinds remain strong and, in an environment where monetary-policy ammunition remains limited, all eyes have shifted towards German fiscal policy, especially as the country has generated significant budget surpluses since 2011. Beyond the already implemented 2019 fiscal stimulus, the country has fiscal space amounting […]

Euro area : What if car tariffs lie ahead ?

Among the key risks for our euro area outlook, the threat of US auto tariffs is of major importance. The US Commerce Department’s investigation on national security threats posed by auto imports is due to be concluded on 17 February. Given the complexity of the global auto supply chain, it is very complicated to isolate […]

Exports save the day for French GDP growth

French GDP rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in Q4, the same pace as in Q3. The details reveal that Q4 exports surged significantly, while household consumption and investment slowed. This left growth for the year at +1.5%, following +2.3% in 2017. The breakdown of GDP data shows that household consumption growth decelerated significantly, to 0.0% […]

Update on euro area economic activity

The big question about the euro area economy is when the bottom of the slowdown will be reached. A rebound was already expected in Q4 2018, but at the start of this year there are still few signs of recovery. Flash composite PMI numbers for the region declined by 0.4 points to 50.7 in January, […]

European Central Bank likely to stick to script

At its latest meeting in December, the ECB turned more cautious, lowering its growth forecasts but showing no sign of panic regarding the loss in euro area economic momentum. Risks were considered as “broadly balanced”, but moving to the downside. Since the December monetary policy meeting, data (PMI and national surveys, industrial production) have deteriorated […]

Concerns about Italy have not gone away

After battling for more than two months over a 2019 budget plan defiantly non-compliant with the EU fiscal rules, Rome and Brussels struck a last-minute agreement in December that avoided opening an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). To avoid the EDP, Italy had to backtrack on parts its initial plans for fiscal expansion to reduce the […]

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