Author Archive

ECB preview: an end to net asset purchases

At its Governing Council meeting next week, we expect the European Central Bank (ECB) to confirm that its asset purchases will cease at year’s end. However, it is likely to stress that the end of the net asset purchase programme does not represent a tightening of its policy stance. We also think the ECB will […]

Yellow vest protests cast cloud over Macron’s reform plans

French protests began on November 17 over hikes in fuel taxes, but have progressively broadened out into an expression of general anger with the French government about the cost of living and high taxes. To calm the situation, the government has dropped the planned fuel tax hike from next year’s budget. Whether or not this […]

Growth contraction puts pressure on Italian government

The Italian statistical office’s (ISTAT) final reading showed that the economy shrank 0.1% q-o-q (-0.5% q-o-q annualised) in Q3, whereas a preliminary reading on October 30 showed that growth was flat. The details were quite negative and confirmed the idiosyncrasy of the Italian economy. Unlikely other euro area economies, net trade contributed positively to growth […]

Surprise contraction in Swiss Q3 GDP

The strong growth enjoyed by the Swiss economy since Q1 2017 came suddenly to an end in Q3 18, when real GDP shrank unexpectedly by 0.2% q-o-q (-0.9% q-o-q annualised). This is much lower than consensus expectations of +0.4% and is down from an average of +0.8% in H1 2018. Details show that the contraction […]

Italy and the EU: a debt-based excessive deficit procedure

This week, the European Commission issued its opinion on Italy’s budget plans. Deeming them noncompliant with the EU’s budgetary rules, it recommended that an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) be opened.Of the options available to the EU, a debt-based EDP would be the most difficult for Italy to deal with, as it would last longer and […]

German Q3 contraction: more than a blip?

Real GDP in Germany fell 0.2% q-o-q in Q3, compared with a 0.5% rise in Q2. This was below consensus and marks the first quarterly contraction in GDP since Q1 2015. The headline number looks horrible, but the market was prepared, as high-frequency data were already pointing in that direction. As usual, the Federal Statistical […]

Italian government sticks to its 2019 deficit plan

In a letter to the European Commission on 13 November, the Italian government confirmed that it would aim for a budget deficit at 2.4% of GDP in 2019 and reasserted its real growth forecast of 1.5% for next year. Rome made only minor concessions to Brussels’ demand that it revise its fiscal plan. It committed […]

Euro area’s fiscal policy to turn supportive of growth next year

Euro area member states have all submitted their 2019 Draft Budgetary Plans (DBP) to the European Commission (EC) by now. These show that, collectively and based on EU Commission’s autumn forecasts, the euro area’s fiscal stance1 will turn supportive in 2019, although it varies significantly from one country to the next. Germany, Italy and the […]

The beginning of the end for Angela Merkel

As a consequence of the heavy drop of support in recent regional elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared she would not run again for leadership of the CDU at the 6-8 December party convention. Merkel also said she would retire from politics at the end of the current parliament in 2021. It is questionable whether […]

Rebound in inflation data brings some relief to the ECB

Euro area flash HICP rose from 2.1% year on year (y-o-y) in September to 2.2% in October, in line with expectations and the highest level since December 2012. Crucially, core inflation (HICP excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco) rebounded from 0.9% to 1.1% in October. Energy inflation rose to 10.6% y-o-y from 9.5% y-o-y in […]

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