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Highlights: Poland is forecast to emerge from deflation in 2017. In Russia, will Mr Putin continue to be patient? What role do women play in the Middle East and North Africa labour market? Nigeria is experiencing a liquidity crisis. In China, things are kicking off quite well? In Brazil, the Attorney General spectacularly intervened in the Odebrecht affair.
Markets and institutional organisations favour a better recent dynamic in Spain, while Italy stands out as benefitting from a better status on various economic dimensions. Spain has started earlier implementing a series of post-crisis structural reforms, while Italy was standing on a better reform track in the 1990s. The latest impressive round of Italian structural reforms is too young to unveil their impact and has not been fully taken into account by observers.
Highlights: Azerbaijan is at the mercy of oil... Serbia and Kosovo have awoken their old demons. In Saudi Arabia, a reformist 2017 budget has been drawn up on the basis of Brent at USD 50/bbl. In Côte d'Ivoire, the crisis has multiple faces. In China, 2017 will be a year of challenges. Is Mexico staring at the end of NAFTA?
The issue of populist movements does not stop at elections. In the longer term, it poses the problem of the legitimacy of elites and solutions for reconciling democracy and globalisation. In fact, we have now entered into a political cycle, ie, a point in history where politics has taken over from the economy and is imposing its own rationality. There is no going back: we are seing a transition of both internal and external political equilibrium.
Highlights: Hungary's sovereign paper "investment grade" rating has been reinstated. What is the nature of the Russian regime? In Egypt, support from multilateral agencies has helped boost reserves, but the conditionalities are painful. Q2 external demand has been saved from recession in South Africa. India has adopted a law designed to unify the tax system for goods and services at national level. Mexico: why is the peso so weak and the key rate so high?
The public deficit forecast for 2017 has been set at 2.7% of GDP (3.3% in 2016), with growth forecasts of 1.5% in 2016 and 2017 – slightly higher than the consensus. The public debt ratio is forecast to fall very slightly in 2016 already. The structural effort will again be significant and concentrated on public spending, whose growth in value terms has been markedly slowed. Our own deficit forecast is slightly higher that the government's, at 2.9% of GDP in 2017.
Highlights: What is Hungary's strategy towards the EU? Central Asia is a region to watch, politically. In Egypt, we are seeing high inflation and further downside pressure on the Pound. The Nigerian Naira is now floating… and lost more than half of its value inside a week. Emerging Asia has responded negatively to Brexit. In Brazil, inflation... and the Central Bank are both resilient.
The level of mortgage lending rates is likely to be the driver in the housing market. Two scenarios are possible. We prefer a scenario of a very slight increase in OAT and lending rates in late 2016 and in 2017. The windfall effect could subside, therefore. But another scenario is possible, with long-term interest rates held at the same level and very low lending rates, close to those of early 2016.
In the 23 June referendum, a majority of the UK electorate voted in favour of leaving the European Union. Close to 52% of voters opted for a Brexit in a very clear-cut result, especially as the participation rate was a high 72.2%. Apart from the UK, obviously, the economic damage to the rest of the world, at this stage, seems relatively absorbable. Persistent financial uncertainty and volatility are not, however, conducive to investment, which is a source of lasting growth. Conversely, the political fallout is enormous and multifarious. The vote shows us the sad spectacle of where political opportunism and recklessness can lead. It also teaches us that ‘it isn't conceivable because it would be catastrophic' is not a strong political argument.
The British referendum on the 23th of June resulted in a vote to leave the European Union, with 51.9% of votes in favour of 'Leave'. The details of the results show an extremely divided UK, highlighting the strong likelihood of a dislocation of the country if a 'Brexit' really happens. The political crisis is set to prevail in the coming months, as is the uncertainty over the future of the country and its relationship with the EU. This will undoubtedly weigh on confidence and economic growth in the UK in the near to longer term.
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