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European Commission raises GDP growth forecasts

European Commission raises GDP growth forecasts

Published on Thursday 9 November, it paints an optimistic picture of the euro area economy, which is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%.

The EU economy as a whole is also forecast to beat expectations and reach robust growth rates of 2.3 pct this year (up from growth forecasts of 1.9 pct in the spring).

The government debt-to-GDP ratio, which fell below the 60% threshold in 2016, is forecast to decline further to 48.8% in 2019. 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%. Autumn forecast of 2017 marks 18 straight quarters of growth and survey evidence points to continued solid expansion of the eurozone economy.

The Commission estimates that the budget deficit this year and next year will be 0.9 percent of GDP, while in 2019 it will be 0.7 percent of GDP.

The main reasons for this are positive macroeconomic and labour market conditions, high consumer demand and corporate profits, and money earned through Malta's citizenship scheme.

Brexit in March 2019 is forecast to see European Union growth slow to 1.9%. "The deficit should remain stable, but the structural balance could worsen", said the European Commission.

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Irish growth is close to the top of the European Union league with only Malta (5.6 per cent) and Romania (5.7 per cent) growing faster this year. "The period of unpredictability could be extended if some creditors decide to oppose the outcome of the settlement, which should be reached by mid-2018", said the Commission.

"The government's fiscal stimulus this year - supported by stronger exports, a significantly depreciated Turkish lira in comparison with last year and a strong boost from public finances and other policy incentives, meant to restore confidence in the Turkish economy", the bloc's economic report said. "While the effects of recent tax reforms pale, household consumption is expected to remain strong thanks to job growth, wage increases and favourable credit conditions". Wage dynamics are still constrained and inflation dampened because of slow productivity growth and a slack in the labour market.

The delay in closing the second review on the programme, earlier this year, is a "major explanation", Moscovici said, as consumption and investment were "hit more than we had expected" by uncertainty over negotiations between Athens and its creditors.

France's debt was still high at 96.9 percent and would remain at that level through 2019.

"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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