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The recovery in the real economy continues. The indicators that measure the markets' long-term inflation expectations have stopped deteriorating but are stabilising at a low level (below 1.5%) that is still a long way from the ECB target (below but close to 2%).
The success of Argentina's bond issue tells us two things First, that there is abundant available liquidity in the markets on the lookout for higher yields. Despite the downbeat prognostications about the growth outlook (most recently from the IMF) and even alarmist sentiment about emerging countries (a "Brazil effect"), risk aversion is undoubtedly declining.
The market would be slightly less dynamic in 2016. Transaction volumes would remain high, although slightly down, by 5%, in the pre-owned segment. This is because housing demand from first-time buyers could dip, linked to the slight increase of interest rates. Pre-owned home prices could be slightly up, by 1-2%, in 2016.
The public debt ratio, at 95.3% of GDP in 2014, rose slightly in 2015 to 95.7%. It is forecast to see further small increases in 2016, to 96.2%, and in 2017, to 96.5%. These ratios are calculated inclusive of financial support for Eurozone states. This modest increase in the public debt ratio can be explained by moves to cut deficits and the recovery in nominal GDP growth.
Business investment has been increasing for nine quarters. After rising by 1.9% in 2015, it is forecast to accelerate by a modest 2.9% in 2016 and by 3.3% in 2017. The increase is modest if we compare it to past business cycles where the recovery was more vigorous and not so late in arriving. In terms of its level, business investment has only just returned to its 2008 level.
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