FocusEconomics Insights - Latest Posts
November 22, 2017
The Nigerian economy contracted in 2016 for the first time in over 20 years, and, prior to 2015, the country had recorded a decade of growth of 6% or more. The contraction in 2016 was largely due to attacks by militants on oil production, which weighed heavily on an economy that was already suffering the impact of low oil prices.
Nigeria is expected to return growth in 2017, albeit at a meagre 0.9% increase, as higher oil output and positive dynamics in the agricultural sector are helping the economy exit recession, and analysts project that growth will increase further next year. Nevertheless, Nigeria experts don’t see growth even coming close to the hay days (such as in 2014 when GDP was 6.2%), at least not before 2022.
November 13, 2017
Chileans will head to the polls on 19 November to choose a new president, amid a political panorama in flux. While the right is united behind Chile Vamos candidate Sebastian Piñera, the multi-billionaire former leader, the left has rarely looked more divided and will field three candidates in the first round. As a result of this fractured scenario, the policy options on offer to citizens are extremely broad; this is best highlighted by the leftist candidate Beatriz Sanchez, who is proposing a break with the largely consensual, market-oriented policies pursued since the restoration of democracy in 1990. However, the country looks set to opt once more for the known quantity of Piñera, who is expected to pursue a business-friendly agenda.
To examine the elections—and particularly Piñera’s program—in more detail, we speak to Maria del Pilar Cruz, Senior Economist at the Santiago Chamber of Commerce, who regularly participates in our Consensus Forecast panel.
November 10, 2017
This post comes from Daniel Nevins, a Chartered Financial Analyst and economist, who discovered an interesting chart while doing research on financial flows during the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing programs. QE has been hailed by many as the savior of numerous economies since the financial crisis, however, Nevins' chart raises many questions as to what QE really does or, more importantly, what it doesn't do.
Holland’s fragile one-seat majority government targets economic growth at the expense of fiscal sustainability
November 9, 2017
On 26 October, 225 days since the inconclusive elections in March, a new government was finally installed by King Willem-Alexander. Incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte was sworn in for another term, as his People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy (VVD) joined forces with the center-right Christian Democrats (CDA), the social-liberal Democrats ’66 (D’66) and the conservative Christion Union (CU). After the longest process of government formation in Dutch history, these four parties reached a deal on 10 October to form a fragile one-seat majority; the political scene in the Netherlands had been fragmented as a result of the March elections. The coalition agreement contains major reforms to the income tax system, labor market and mortgage interest rate deductions.
November 8, 2017
South Africa's economy exited technical recession in Q2 and recent data provides reason for cautious optimism. The recent recovery in agricultural output carried into in Q3, and consumer confidence is increasing on the back of moderating inflation and higher real wage growth. Adding to the good news, manufacturing output expanded in August for the first time this year. That said, this positive data, should be taken with caution. Endless political bickering constitutes is a real issue. It is the biggest stumbling block to faster GDP growth, and it continues to weigh on business confidence and stave off future investment. In September, the manufacturing PMI dipped further into contractionary territory, and business sentiment remained abysmally low despite improving from the over 30-year low recorded in August. Furthermore, political noise is set to remain elevated in the foreseeable future as the country gears up for the ANC Conference in December, when a new presidential candidate for next year’s election will be chosen.
November 3, 2017
The commodities prices and volumes in Latin America are showing signs of recovery, after the four years of poor performance that followed the slowdown caused by the global economic and financial crisis. The renewed momentum comes within a context in which global trade is expected to expand by 3.6% in 2017, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Commission (ECLAC) Perspectives on International Trade in Latin America and the Caribbean.
November 1, 2017
Over the last year and change, the economic outlook for the Eurozone has improved dramatically while in that same time the UK economic outlook has left much to be desired. A little over a year ago, Brexit campaigners proclaimed that if the UK did not leave the European Union it would be "shackled to a corpse." A year on from the Brexit-vote and that looks far from the truth as the health of the Eurozone economy looks better than it has in some time.
Recently released economic forecasts from the European Commission project the UK economy growing the slowest of almost any EU country in 2019 when the country is set to leave the bloc. Read our latest economic outlooks for the UK and the Eurozone below to find out what we project.
October 27, 2017
On 26 October, President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont put the decision of independence in the hands of the region's parliament. The move almost guarantees that the Spansh Senate will decide on 27 October to approve measures that will allow Spain to take complete control over the semi-autonomous region's government, as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative party holds a majority. How this all affects the economy of both the region and the country as a whole is uncertain, however, cracks have begun to show recently as the Spain-Catalonia situation has escalated.
October 23, 2017
“Spain is not in an economic crisis.” These were the now immortal words of Spain’s then-President José Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero in response to the turmoil which swept through the world economy in 2007–2008 and led to the worst recession Spain has seen for decades.
The Spanish economy boomed throughout the early 2000s, as inward investment from the rest of the EU and low interest rates fed a colossal housing bubble. With the onset of the global financial crisis, the music abruptly stopped. The housing bubble popped spectacularly, GDP nosedived and the unemployment rate soared to over 25%, the highest in the EU. Youth unemployment reached an eye-watering 50%, prompting an exodus of skilled young professionals, with many moving to the colder climes of northern Europe in search of work.
Worryingly, the unemployment rate hit similar heights during the 1990s, and had struggled to dip below 8% even at the peak of giddy economic optimism in the mid-2000s. This hints at deep-seated structural problems in the Spanish labor market, rather than a mere passing phenomenon.
October 19, 2017
Global inflation inched up from 3.1% in July to 3.2% in August. Inflation accelerated in the U.S. as hurricane-related disruptions caused gas prices to spike, while in the UK inflation came in above market expectations as the pass-through effects of the weakened pound continued to feed higher prices. Inflation also trended higher in the Euro area on the back of higher prices for non-core goods. Among the key emerging market economies, inflation accelerated in China and India while it decelerated in Brazil and Russia.
Although risks to inflation from a global perspective remain mostly tilted to the downside, mounting inflationary pressures in Latin America, primarily focused in inflation-ridden Venezuela, caused the FocusEconomics projection for 2018 global inflation to increase to 4.7%, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s estimate. This year, the panel sees inflation averaging 4.9%.
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