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The resilience of the British economy in the post-referendum period has taken many by surprise. Some made rapid conclusions that ‘Brexit has had no effect on the economy'. To state this, however, is to voluntarily omit that Brexit has not yet occurred. We are still at the very beginning of the negotiation process, which started officially on 29 March. The main effects of the referendum result so far have been through foreign exchange.
Whether we're talking about Brexit or, above all, the election of Donald Trump, recent political changes have undoubtedly been shocks. It is no longer simply a question of shifting the cursor of economic policy towards a little less state, less taxation and less social protection. Instead, the aim is to cure the ills of an ailing society by designating scapegoats and demonising the ‘rest of the world' in particular.
The objectives are ambitious. Without its even being necessary to judge the effectiveness of the solutions proposed, suffice it to say that they are above all radical. So radical, paradoxically, that they are not materialising as rapidly as might be hoped by those betting on their effectiveness or as might be feared by those who consider them inappropriate and dangerous.
In the short term, the direct impact on the real economy and on agents' behaviour is minor, because institutional obstacles must first be overcome and/or the assent of national parliaments obtained.
This publication presents the economists' forecasts for interest rates, exchange rates and commodity prices, along with the Crédit Agricole Group's central economic projection.
As widely expected, the FOMC raised the Fed funds (FF) target by 25 bps to a range of 0.75% to 1.00%. The Fed's median projection for the FF rate at the end of 2017 was 1.4%, implying two additional 25 bps rate hikes this year. This is unchanged from the December projection as was the projection for yearend 2018 at 2.1%, implying 3 additional hikes next year. The longer-run fed funds rate projection remained at 3.0%.
Sometimes the ECB feels it has to run away, it has to get away from the dovish stance it drove into the heart of the Eurozone. The dovish stance seems to be close to an end. It is losing its usefulness… The constructive ambiguity widely used by the ECB at today's press conference confirms our view that the ECB is almost at the peak of its accommodative stance: from now on, it will slow the expectations on monetary policy before actually – very gradually – removing the monetary support.
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.
US economic performance is likely to warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate. Chair Yellen reiterated her view that "waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession."
As widely expected, the FOMC left its monetary policy unchanged with the Fed funds rate target range maintained at 0.5% to 0.75% at its February meeting. The Fed's balance sheet reinvestment policies were also unchanged.
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?
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