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Commission raises forecasts for euro economy, is upbeat on Republic

Commission raises forecasts for euro economy, is upbeat on Republic

The European Commission said in its autumn economic forecast on Thursday that "Italy's economic recovery accelerated in 2017, supported by external and domestic demand, but fading tailwinds and lower medium-term growth prospects are expected to moderate growth".

By 2019, real GDP growth is expected to slow down to 4.1%, with private consumption remaining the main growth driver. The International Monetary Fund is expecting United Kingdom growth of 1.7% this year, while the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is forecasting growth of 1.6%. Economic growth and job creation are robust, investment is picking up and government deficit and debt are gradually decreasing.

The EC forecast did not mention the Catalonian crisis and actually raised growth forecasts for Spain up to a healthy 3.1 percent for 2017. On the back of a marked improvement in business and consumer sentiment and an improving labour market, both private consumption and investment activity are forecast to be robust in the second half of the year, and to continue to perform well in 2018.

The government 2017 balance is expected to remain in surplus at 0.9% of GDP.

He also noted that the current growth cycle is characterised by "less output" than previous cycles, and that "a sluggish wage growth partly reflects low productivity growth and persistent slack in [the] labour market".

The commission said the eurozone had enjoyed its best year since the start of the financial crisis a decade ago, having shaken off the debt crisis that gripped the region a couple of years ago.

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The report predicts that inflation will rise gently from 0.3 to 1.2 per cent over the 2017-19 period, while unemployment is expected to fall from 6.1 to 5.3 per cent.

Throughout the European Union investment is picking up amid favourable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded. Public finances remain on track to meet the primary surplus targets agreed under the ESM programme. Unemployment in the euro area is expected to average 9.1% this year, its lowest level since 2009, as the total number of people employed climbs to a record high.

The European Commission forecasts are slightly more pessimistic than other forecasts for the United Kingdom, but given that so far this year, the United Kingdom grew by 0.3 percent in both the first and second quarters, and by 0.4 percent in the third quarter, they don't seem unduly downbeat.

The unemployment rate in Croatia will this year be 11.1 percent, falling to 9.2 in 2018, and 7.5 percent in 2019, which should be somewhere near European Union average.

"Investment in construction is projected to contribute substantially to growth in domestic demand, with the strong momentum in residential property investment in 2016 expected to continue in the medium term, supported by government policies", the commission says.

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