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10 November 2017, 01:08 | Frank Carlson
The Brandenburg Gate reflected by a puddle on Pariser Platz Square in Berlin Germany Tuesday Nov. 7 2017
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%.
For the whole European Union, the growth forecast was lifted to 2.3% for this year from 1.9%, while in 2018 the bloc is predicted to grow 2.1%.
With current surveys already suggesting that heightened uncertainty is weighing on business investment in the United Kingdom, the EC report forecast investment growth will weaken in 2018, as many firms are likely to continue deferring investments in the face of uncertainty. This is substantially higher than that expected in the spring forecast for 2017 (1.7 pct).
From 2018, the European Commission will revert to publishing two comprehensive forecasts (spring and autumn) and two interim forecasts (winter and summer) each year, instead of the three comprehensive forecasts in winter, spring and autumn that it has produced each year since 2012.
The closure of the second review in June 2017, together with the stronger-than-expected growth in the euro area and a favourable tourist season, are expected to strengthen the economy in the remainder of the year.
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"While market reactions to recent events in Catalonia have remained contained, the risk exists that future developments could have an impact on economic growth", the Commission noted in its reports, adding that the size of the impact "cannot be anticipated at this stage". "The European economy has performed significantly better than expected this year, propelled by resilient private consumption, stronger growth around the world, and falling unemployment". Employment is projected to increase by 0.7% in 2017. "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.
Throughout the European Union investment is picking up amid favourable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded.
Wages are expected to improve as the increase in labour supply slows down.
Job creation has been sustained and labour market conditions are set to benefit from the domestic-demand driven expansion, moderate wage growth, and structural reforms implemented in some Member States.
The current account surplus is forecast to be close to 10% of GDP for 2017, pushed by strong growth in exports, especially service, and a drop in imports related to the contraction in investment. The eurozone is seen expanding to 2.1% in 2018-still up from a previous expectation of 1.8%-with the growth rate dipping to 1.9% in 2019, when Britain will leave the EU. High households' indebtedness and increasing debt burdens, could also affect consumption growth.
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