European Union raises Turkey's growth forecast

Dianna Christensen
November 10, 2017

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.

The bloc's Autumn European Economic Forecast said the countries using the euro currency, the eurozone, is on track to annual GDP growth of 2.2 percent - higher than the 1.7 percent announced in the spring.

"The debt ratio, after reaching 132.0% in 2016, stabilised in 2017 at 132.1% of GDP also due to additional resources earmarked for public support to the banking sector and retail investors", the EC said.

Italy remained in last place for growth in the European Commission's economic forecasts for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Autumn forecast of 2017 marks 18 straight quarters of growth and survey evidence points to continued solid expansion of the eurozone economy.

However, in view of Malta's openness to trade (nominal exports and imports combined to reach 270% of GDP in 2016) any volatility in Malta's main exporting sectors would have a disproportionately large impact on real GDP growth. For 2018, the forecast was increased by 0.6 percentage points to 3.8 percent. Private consumption will support favorable labor market trends and record high consumer confidence.

Italy's public debt, the second highest in the European Union after Greece, will finally start easing from next year after peaking at 132.1 percent of GDP in 2017.

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In 2017, the government balance is projected to remain in surplus, at 0.9% of GDP. "The European economy has performed significantly better than expected this year, propelled by resilient private consumption, stronger growth around the world, and falling unemployment".

The report says that Ireland's 2018 Budget, which includes spending measures of around 0.4 per cent of GDP that are partly covered by revenue increases of 0.3 per cent, will still see the deficit fall to 0.2 per cent of GDP in 2018.

"Investment is also picking up amid favourable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded", it said. "Growth should remain strong and broad-based this year".

The commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, said at the report's launch here that: "After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated". The economies of all Member States are expanding and their labour markets improving, but wages are rising only slowly.

Unit labour costs are projected to rise faster than the euro-area average in 2018 and 2019. High households' indebtedness and increasing debt burdens, could also affect consumption growth.

Despite the pick up in growth, Europe's unemployment rate is expected to be 8.5% next year - double the rate in the UK.

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