European Commission says Irish economy to grow 4.8 pct in 2017
10 November, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Lester Mason
The euro zone economy is expected to grow at its fastest rate in a decade this year, after European Commission forecasts were hiked on Thursday, while investment in United Kingdom seen weakening next year.
In its autumn economic forecast, the Commission said the Grand-Duchy's economy would expand by 3.4% this year and then by 3.5% and 3.3% in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Strong export growth, particularly in services, and a fall in imports related to the contraction in investment is pushing up the current account surplus, which is forecast to approach 10% of GDP in 2017. Economic growth and job creation are robust, investment is picking up and government deficit and debt are gradually decreasing.
The Commission estimates that the budget deficit this year and next year will be 0.9 percent of GDP, while in 2019 it will be 0.7 percent of GDP.
Revenue growth is supported by the favourable macroeconomic and labour market conditions, high corporate profits, consumer demand and the proceeds from Malta's citizenship scheme.
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"After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated", said Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs. This is a result both of a good performance of the economy in the first half of the year and an upward revision to 2016's GDP growth rate.Domestic demand is the engine of growth in 2017, and is expected to remain so for the entire period, backed by strong performance of private and public consumption and a recovery in investment.
"Consumption growth is projected to be modest, in line with weak real wage growth, while uncertainty continues to weigh on business investment".
Private consumption is believed to become the main driver of growth on the back of an increasing population and growing disposable income; with domestic demand playing a secondary role to external demand. Public finances remain on track to meet the primary surplus targets agreed under the ESM programme. 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.
The labour market performed better than expected, with the unemployment rate dropping to 21 pct in July, down from an annual average of 23.6 pct in 2016.
"Thereafter, the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to marginally decline to 130.8% in 2018 and to 130.0% in 2019, mainly due to stronger nominal growth".
"Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases".
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